122 million users in India were actively using mobile browsers with built-in ad blocking, as of March 2016, suggests a study conducted by PageFair. India stands second among the 17 countries identified by the study. India was second to China, which had 159 million monthly active users with a built-in ad blocking browser on mobile. Note that using browsers with ad blockers isn’t the same as having ad blockers active, and even the browsers where ad blockers are native, may have users who view ads. In that context, there isn’t a 1:1 correlation between ad blocking and the usage of ad blocking browsers. Some notes:

– Why people use Adblockers: The study mentions that ad blocking browsers improve page speed and reduce bandwidth consumption on mobile, which is why “they are most rapidly adopted in markets where mobile data infrastructure is less developed and therefore slow and/or expensive relative to income.

– Where they’re being used: Mobile ad blocking is popular in Asia Pacific (APAC) markets wherein 4 countries including India, China, Pakistan and Indonesia put together had 329 million MAUs as of March using a mobile browser with a native ad blocker. This means that at least 36% of smartphone users in the APAC region used a mobile browser with a built-in ad blocker. In March 2016, the APAC region accounted for 55% of global smartphone users, but 93% of mobile adblocking browser usage came from APAC during the same

It estimates that 61% of Indian smartphone users had ad blocking enabled browsers, as of January 2016.


However, note that the use of mobile adblocking browsers was less prevalent in North American and European markets. The study says that there were only 14 million MAUs using adblocking browsers in both the regions put together as of March 2016.

– Mobile overtakes desktop: There are twice as many mobile adblockers available for download when compared to dekstop adblockers globally. The study claims that 22% of the world’s 1.9 billion smartphone users installed an ad blocker in March 2016. In the same month, the study found that 419 million people globally used some kind of mobile ad blocker. Out of that, 408 million people used a mobile browser with built-in ad blocking on their smartphones.

In addition, usage of mobile browser with built-in ad blocking grew by 90% during 2015. Usage grew from just 198 million users as of January 2015 to over 370 million users as of January 2016. This makes browsers with built-in adblocking the most popular method of ad blocking in the world market, the study suggested.


Other highlights from the study

– UC Browser all the way: The study identified 45 different mobile browsers with native ad blockers available for download on iOS and Android. Alibaba-owned UC Browser (for mobile) with built-in ad blocking had the most amount of user downloads than all other forms of ad blocking combined on smartphones. Note that the adblocking feature on UC Browser can be turned off by a user at any time.

– There were 229 different content blocking apps on iOS platform. During the 7 months after launch in September 2015, there were only 4.5 million downloads of these apps globally.

– An estimated 17.6% of the total 173 million Firefox users on Android had chosen optional adblocking through add-ons in March 2016.

– In Dec 2015, ASUS partnered with Adblock Plus to provide an adblocking browser on 30 million new handsets by 2016.

Recent developments in adblockers

– In this month, browser maker Opera had integrated a native adblocker into both the stable versions of Opera for computers as well as Opera Mini for Android.

-Last month, Microsoft said that it is working on supporting ad blocking on its new Edge browser through third-party extensions.

In February, Google, which started blocking ad-blockers from the Play Store earlier, has stopped doing so after revising its policy. The company would now allow ad-blockers that were built for Samsung’s browser to stay online. Samsung recently rolled out ad blocking on its browser for Android devices that would allow third-party developers to to build apps for blocking ads.

– In November last year, Yahoo blocked some users of Yahoo Mail from accessing their email until they turn off their ad blocking software. More on that here.

– September last year, AdblockPlus released a mobile browser for Android and iOS. This is after Eyeo, the company which makes the extension for browsers, encountered problems in creating ad blocking software for mobile devices. More here.

– In the same month, Apple allowed third party ad blocker extensions for the Safari browser on the iPhone.