Beginning this week’s insights into Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), today’s chart explores where these tools are being used most around the world.

On a global level, around a quarter of internet users used a VPN last month – a figure which has remained fairly stable since 2013.

Regionally, it’s clear that VPN usage is a trend centered on fast-growth markets, driven mainly by out-of-market content access.

APAC leads by region, with almost a third of consumers located here using a VPN last month, and Indonesia leading at 44%. In fact, two thirds of the world’s VPN users are located in APAC.

This geographical pattern of usage has major implications for audience measurement. When using a VPN, digital consumers can be incorrectly geo-located by passive analytics, which can have major implications for website traffic measurement.

This could mean that some visitors to digital content services recorded from more established markets, like the U.S., are actually users in fast-growth markets.

Alongside high levels of device sharing and multi-device internet usage, VPN usage is leading to millions of “missing” internet users who are being misunderstood or overlooked entirely by passive data collection techniques – possibly leading to a large chunk of ad spend being misdirected.  

The motivations for using VPNs differs between individuals, but concerns around consumer privacy online is a driver for many.

And following high profile privacy breaches occurring as of late, knowledge and the use of these privacy measures that can make consumers “invisible” are likely to see further uptake.

In tomorrow’s chart, we’ll explore who exactly the VPN user audience comprises of.

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Written by

Olivia is a Senior Insights Analyst at GlobalWebIndex. Moving to the company over 2 years ago after completing a degree in Psychology, Olivia works as part of the Strategic Insights team producing bespoke assets for clients. Olivia also writes on GlobalWebIndex’s blog, with a particular interest in social media and behavioral economics.

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