[R] Size of R user base
Kevin S. Van Horn
kvanhorn at ksvanhorn.com
Mon Apr 19 20:12:47 CEST 2004
I have been trying to determine the size of the R user base, and was
asked to share my findings with this mailing list. Although I still
don't have any definite estimate of this number, I do have some
interesting and indicative information:
1. It appears that there are about 100,000 S-PLUS users.
Rationale: According to Insightful's 2002 Annual Report, over 100,000
people use Insightful software; since license revenues from S-PLUS and
add-on modules accounted for nearly all of their license revenues in
2002, and their other products are much more costly than S-PLUS, it
seems that the great majority of users of Insightful software are S-PLUS
Conclusion: S-PLUS costs $3500 (Windows) or $4500 (Linux/Unix) for an
individual copy; R is free. This suggests that there may be more R
users than S-PLUS users, which suggests > 100,000 R users.
Does anyone has any other information that would give some notion as to
the RELATIVE numbers of R and S-PLUS users?
2. At least one R book has achieved sales of just over 5,000 copies. (I
could not find sales figures for other R books, as it appears that
publishers are closed-mouthed about such figures. And no, I can't
reveal which particular book this was, so don't ask.)
Conclusion: Very few books sell to more than 12% of the population of
potential buyers, and most books have a far lower penetration -- 1% or
less is not uncommon. A 12% penetration for the book in question
implies 42,000 R users; a more reasonable 5% penetration implies 100,000
users. A low 1% penetration implies 500,000 users.
3. There are a total of 3225 unique subscribers to the three R mailing
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