American students are saving ChatGPT from traffic freefall

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Person using ChatGPT on a phone

June Wan/ZDNET

ChatGPT was the first AI chatbot to become really popular, but many rivals have entered the scene, creating generative AI models just as capable. Over the past few months, ChatGPT’s traffic has been hurting, but back-to-school season might be its saving grace. 

The analytics firm SimiliarWeb tracked ChatGPT’s performance, which has been dropping in traffic for three consecutive months. In the US, ChatGPT’s traffic dropped 10% in May, 15% in June, and 4% in July, according to the data. 

Also: My 5 favorite AI tools for school

August stopped the downward decline, leveling the growth chart with a 0.4% increase in the US, as seen in the photo below. 

ChatGPT traffic chart


This shift in the trend could be attributed to students in the US going back to school during that time. 

“One theory about why ChatGPT’s web traffic dropped over the summer is that school was out, which would help explain why the traffic trend stabilized in August as schoolchildren in the US were back in class in greater numbers toward the end of the month,” said Similiarweb in the blog post. 

Also: Meet generative AI’s ‘super users’: 70% of Gen Z use GenAI

To further support that conclusion, the months of May, June, and July saw a 3% decrease in users between the 18-24 bracket, which had been pushing 30% in April. That drop in use from that demographic is likely because most US universities recess for the summer in early May. 

The same slight growth was seen amongst the 18-24 ChatGPT user bracket in August, leveling out the decline from the previous months. 

College age share of audience for ChatGPT chart


Students use ChatGPT for school because AI chatbots can help eliminate pointless tasks and answer questions on the material learned in class. 

Also: How to use ChatGPT

For example, ChatGPT can help with writing essays, researching information for papers, solving math equations, debugging code, creating Excel formulas, conversationally explaining any topic, and much more. 

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