For the first time, ChatGPT desktop and mobile traffic has declined. Is it just growing pains, or has the AI chatbot’s novelty worn off?
According to analytics company Similarweb(opens in a new tab), ChatGPT traffic dropped 9.7 percent globally and 10.3 percent in the U.S. from May to June. Additionally, worldwide unique visitors dropped by 5.7 percent, and average time spent on the site went down by 8.5 percent.
When ChatGPT was released in November, 2022, it was an almost-instant phenomenon. By February, 2023, it had become the fastest growing app of all time, garnering 100 million users in two months. Now the chatbot faces a new challenge: holding people’s attention.
Does the decline simply mean ChatGPT’s novelty is wearing off? There are several factors to take into consideration before coming to that conclusion. In May, OpenAI launched a ChatGPT app for iOS, which might have stolen some of its traffic from mobile and desktop browsers. Also, school is out for the summer, which likely means fewer kids turning to Professor ChatGPT for homework help. Exhibit A: Search interest(opens in a new tab) for Minecraft shot up at the same time as ChatGPT’s decline. No mere coincidence, dear Watson.
Some of ChatGPT’s shrinking traffic might also be attributed to the proliferation of AI chatbot alternatives. An earlier report(opens in a new tab) from Similarweb found that ChatGPT traffic leveled off in May, but traffic to Character.AI(opens in a new tab) and Google Bard, which was publicly released that month, both increased. So fewer people may be using ChatGPT, even as generative AI continues to have its moment.
It’s too soon to tell whether ChatGPT is just a novelty. And to be sure: when school is back in session, we all stand to gain a lot of insight about ChatGPT’s traffic patterns.