OpenAI’s generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT, saw monthly traffic to its website decline in June for the first time since its launch in November 2022, according to web analytics company Similarweb.

Total monthly visits during 2023 declined to 1.6 billion visits in June from 1.75 billion visits in April and 1.8 billion visits in May. The US experienced a particularly steep decline of 15% in user numbers from May to June, while the amount of time visitors spent on the website fell by 2.5% and 5.5% on the desktop and mobile web respectively.

Early data for the month of July also indicates that the downward trend is set to continue.

The AI chatbot had set the record for the fastest-growing user base, gaining 100 million active users by January 2023, only two months after launch.

However, OpenAI has faced mixed media coverage in recent months as several creatives, including US comedian Sarah Silverman and authors Richard Kadrey and Christopher Golden, have filed lawsuits against the company for unlawfully “ingesting” their material.

In addition, a range of high-profile companies, such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Accenture, have banned internal use of ChatGPT. In May 2023, Apple was the latest blue chip corporation to restrict employees’ use of AI-powered services, fearing leaks of proprietary code or other sensitive data.

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By GlobalData

However, waning interest in ChatGPT also appears to be part of a wider industry trend, with Similarweb recording fewer people visiting LLM competitors Microsoft Bing, Google Bard and Character.AI over recent months.

Excess hype, market competition, misinformation fears and the development of proprietary LLMs have been cited as reasons for the decline in ChatGPT user numbers.

GlobalData analyst, Emma Taylor, posits a range of reasons for the fall in ChatGPT user numbers: “Firstly, the activity and growth the platform initially saw in terms of user engagement, was not sustainable as it was largely based on hype. A lot of people eager to discover firsthand what the hype was about, likely did not have a long-term use case for the product.”

“Secondly, there has been an influx of generative AI platforms released which has saturated the market, and will have divided the potential users amongst a range of different products,” adds Taylor.

“Thirdly, there are many cybersecurity, data privacy, inaccuracy, and misinformation related issues which have led the product to be discouraged, banned, or blocked, in certain scenarios, locations, or within certain corporations.

“Finally, it is likely that many enterprises who tested use cases on the public ChatGPT are now moving to train models with their own proprietary data, and it is not clear if that private traffic is getting accounted for,” Taylor said.