ChatGPT saw its first-ever user decline in June

Mobile and desktop traffic to the chatbot's website was down nearly 10 percent from the month prior.

Florence Lo / reuters

After a meteoric rise in popularity late last year and into early 2023, it looks like OpenAI’s chatbot is beginning to lose some steam. According to data internet analytics firm Similarweb shared with The Washington Post, last month mobile and desktop traffic to ChatGPT’s website fell by 9.7 percent globally. If Similarweb’s data is accurate, the drop marks the first time the chatbot has seen a user decline. In June, app tracker Sensor Tower also saw downloads of ChatGPT’s iOS client fall off after peaking earlier in the month. OpenAI did not immediately respond to Engadget’s comment request.

Waning interest in ChatGPT appears to be part of an industry trend. Similarweb’s numbers show fewer people visiting the desktop and mobile websites for Microsoft Bing, Google Bard and Character.AI in recent months. Microsoft, for instance, saw traffic to its search engine surge between February and March when Bing AI became available in public preview. Since then, monthly traffic to the website has steadily declined, returning nearly to the levels it was before Microsoft retooled Bing around GPT-4. Separately, Similarweb says it saw a drop in ChatGPT engagement, with user minutes down by 8.5 percent as of May 2023.

As for what could be causing the decline, The Post suggests the end of the school year may have something to do with it. With most college students on summer break, it speculates not as many young adults are using ChatGPT to write their papers. Another reason could be that companies like Samsung are prohibiting employees from using AI chatbots over the very real fear of a potential data leak. Whatever the reason for the decline, you can bet no one at OpenAI is panicking. If anything, the research lab is probably happy to see fewer people use the public version of ChatGPT. CEO Sam Altman has said the service costs OpenAI an “eye-watering” amount to operate.