The ChatGPT website saw its first ever decline in monthly visits in June, according to figures from analytics firm Similarweb. The numbers do not include traffic from its mobile app which was only introduced in May.
In February ChatGPT racked up more than 100 million users in record-setting time following its launch last year.
Numbers don’t lie
According to Similarweb, worldwide desktop traffic to ChatGPT fell 9.7% to 1.6 billion in June. That compares to 1.8 billion in May and April. Data shows unique visitors to the ChatGPT website experienced a 5.7% dip during the month under review.
Duration per visit also dropped averaging 7 minutes 27 seconds, which is 8.5% below the prior month. The bounce rate came in at 38.67%. Data shows that the website gets most of its traffic from social media leads such as YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter in that order.
Most of the visitors were from the U.S., accounting for 12.1% of total monthly visits, although this was a drop from 17.9 % the month before. India and Japan followed, making up 7.6% and 4.2%.
Is the hype waning?
According to Indiatimes, senior insights manager for Similarweb, David Carr implied that the decline in visits to the platform could mean the hype over the super chatbot might be dying.
Meanwhile, Google software engineer and researcher Francois Chollet said, “one thing is sure: it’s not booming anymore,” in an email to Fortune. Francois blamed the Northern hemisphere summer vacation for the decline in the number of visits to ChatGPT. He said most students are on holiday, gaming, or on other activities that do not require ChatGPT.
Sam Gilbert, a data scientist, and author, gave his thoughts on Twitter. He noted that ChatGPT is mostly used for job applications and homework, per Google search.
Responding to Sam’s tweet, Francois agreed that the number one use for LLMs is producing homework.
ChatGPT’s immediate rise would result in “a radically less meteoric but very real drop-off in usage once customers move beyond the novelty and exploratory stage,” says Bradley Shimmin, chief AI and data analytics analyst at Similarweb’s sister research firm Omdia.
I find that homework is actually the #2 application of ChatGPT (as measured by US Google search).
There is a higher volume of searches relating to job applications (eg "chatgpt resume", "chatgpt cover letter"), & a comparable volume for code (per https://t.co/vNSb0q30wG) https://t.co/Xu0dUnxWtQ pic.twitter.com/FcXqCkaci3
— Sam Gilbert (@samgilb) June 27, 2023
Still a force to reckon with
With 1.5 billion monthly visits, ChatGPT is one of the world’s top 20 websites and the fastest-growing consumer application ever.
Since its November launch, other tech giants have trailed OpenAI in coming up with their own alternatives. Google created Bard and Microsoft introduced Bing, which uses OpenAI’s technology. In Asia, search giant Baidu also released Ernie to serve the Chinese market where ChatGPT is banned, although users access it through VPNs.
As of July 4, ChatGPT had over 17 million global downloads on iOS. Similarweb says in the US, the chatbot’s downloads peaked on May 31 where it has remained popular, reaching 530, 000 weekly downloads during its first full six weeks of availability.
A report by Reuters says the recent subdued growth is crucial as it might help the company control costs in running the chatbot, which “requires intensive computing power to answer queries.” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman reportedly described the cost as “eye-watering.”
Another school of thought suggests the decline in traffic on the ChatGPT website is a result of users migrating to the mobile app which Similarweb does not track.