NEW YORK: Ten per cent of adult North Americans will be engaged in four or more multiple, simultaneous advertisement-blocking behaviours in 2018, according to a new report.

Deloitte, the consulting firm, described these people as “adlergic” in its annual Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions.

They form a small subset of a larger group who undertake more limited ad blocking activity: three-quarters of North Americans engage in at least one form of regular ad blocking, whether that’s using software to block online ads, paying subscriptions to avoid ads on streaming services or simply fast forwarding through the ads on a digital video recorder or changing TV or radio channels when ads come on.

The proportion of ‘adlergic’ consumers is, unsurprisingly, highest in the millennial age group, where 17% were blocking ads in four or more ways; Deloitte expected this to rise to 18% or 19% in 2018.

But the report added that age is not the only factor at work, since employed people with higher incomes and more education were significantly more likely (by between 200% and 400%) to be heavy ad blockers than were less-educated people who were not working and had lower incomes.

More encouragingly, almost no-one avoids ads altogether. “Across the seven major ways of blocking ads, the percentage who block all seven was zero or nearly zero in all countries surveyed in 2017, and we predict that will be true again in 2018,” the report stated,

It further noted that ad-blocking software doesn’t remove every ad, “and even the most dedicated DVR user usually still watches some TV live (often sports, reality, news, weather or award shows) and is therefore likely to see some, many or all of the ads”.

The report also predicted that more and more smartphone users will attempt to limit their device usage in 2018 – already 45% globally worry they are using their phones too much – which, if successful, will likely result in fewer ads being seen.

Sourced from Deloitte; additional content by WARC staff