The AI chatbot known as ChatGPT experienced a decline in monthly traffic and unique visitors to its website for the first time in June, according to Similarweb, an analytics firm.
Worldwide desktop and mobile traffic to the ChatGPT website dropped by 9.7 percent compared to May, while unique visitors decreased by 5.7 percent. Additionally, the amount of time spent by visitors on the website decreased by 8.5 percent.
Similarweb’s Senior Insights Manager, David Carr, suggests that the decline in traffic indicates a waning interest in the chatbot’s novelty. On the other hand, Rishi Jaluria, an analyst from RBC Capital Markets, interprets the data as a reflection of a growing demand for generative AI that provides real-time information.
ChatGPT gained immense popularity following its launch in November, leading to a surge in the use of generative AI for various daily tasks such as writing and coding. By January, just two months after its release, ChatGPT had amassed 100 million monthly active users, making it the fastest-growing consumer application ever. Currently, the chatbot boasts over 1.5 billion monthly visits and ranks among the top 20 websites globally, surpassing Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which also utilizes OpenAI’s technology.
In recent months, several competitors to ChatGPT, including Google’s Bard chatbot, have entered the market. Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, also offers a chatbot powered by OpenAI, available to users at no cost.
Sarah Hindlian-Bowler, head of Technology Research Americas at Macquarie, attributes the slowdown in ChatGPT’s growth to the challenges that arise when scaling rapidly from zero to 100 million users. Maintaining accuracy becomes more difficult with the heavy infrastructure requirements, necessitating changes in the training of the model and considerations regarding potential regulatory implications.
In May, OpenAI released the ChatGPT app for iOS, which could have contributed to a decline in traffic to the website. Some experts also speculate that the reduction in usage might be linked to the summer break, with fewer students seeking assistance with their homework.
As of July 4, data.ai reports that the ChatGPT app has been downloaded over 17 million times globally on iOS. Downloads peaked on May 31, and the app remains popular in the United States, with an average of 530,000 weekly downloads during its first six full weeks of availability.
The slowdown in growth may help manage the substantial costs associated with running ChatGPT, as the chatbot requires significant computing power to answer user queries. OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, has described the expenses involved as “eye-watering.”
While ChatGPT is free to use, OpenAI also offers a premium subscription that provides access to their more advanced model, GPT-4, for $20 per month. According to estimates from YipitData, around 1.5 million individuals have subscribed to the premium service in the United States.
OpenAI anticipates generating $200 million in revenue this year. In addition to ChatGPT, the company earns revenue by selling API access to its AI models directly to developers and enterprises, as well as through a partnership with Microsoft, which invested over $10 billion in OpenAI.