[R] Size of R user base

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Mon Apr 19 23:27:25 CEST 2004

On Mon, 19 Apr 2004, Kevin S. Van Horn wrote:

> 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.)

Some of us know quite accurately, though.

> 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 

Where did you get that 12% from?

> 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.

One S book has sold half your number of S-PLUS users, although some sales
are known to be to R users.

I have big problems with the definition.  What is an `R user'?  Someone 
who has ever used R, even for a one-hour practical class?  Someone who has 
used R in the last 3 months?  Even given a definition, I would not be able 
to give you an accurate answer for our site, for either S-PLUS or R.  
(There are machines with each installed that I strongly suspect are 

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

More information about the R-help mailing list