As R is growing in popularity so is interest in local R user groups but how do the numbers of those interested in attending break down by sector and is this representative of the sectors in which R is now being used?

Mango Solutions has now been running the London local user group, LondonR, since March 2009. It is a free event that has grown massively. Typically at each event there are 3 or 4 talks on topics relating to R – how it is being used in a particular industry, new packages or just ways of using R that people want to share.

Since July 2009 Mango has collected data, including information relating to business sector, of all those who pre-registered to attend LondonR. Taking a look at the total number of all registrations we can clearly see a sharp increase in the number of pre-registrations from mid-2011 onwards. In fact the numbers have tripled in the last 12 months, with numbers rising from an average under 50 to just fewer than 150 by the end of 2012, which was matched at the start of 2013.

Now let’s take a look at the breakdown into sectors. Whilst the data contain some much more specific information on the sectors of those registering we have simplified it to look at 5 categories – academia, finance, insurance, pharmaceutical and other. There is a good chance that numbers by sector will be dependent on the talks at any given event but there are certainly some obvious patterns. Academia has grown in proportion registering since 2009 while the finance and pharmaceutical industries have decreased in proportion of registrations – is it surprising that the pharmaceutical industry is by far the least well represented? Despite an increase in proportion from the insurance sector in late 2011 this has remained reasonably constant since 2009. It is very clear that the largest proportion of registrations come from the other category, with the proportion showing the biggest relative increase since the start of 2012 but being consistently the largest group since 2009.

Taking a look at the total registrations broken down by sector it is interesting to see that while the proportions from the financial sector appear to have decreased the total numbers would seem to have increased, though clearly not at the same rate as all the sectors we are looking at here. The pharmaceutical sector has remained consistently the lowest in numbers while the numbers from the insurance sector reflect what we see in the proportions – remaining roughly consistent. Again we see that the total numbers for other sector increased massively from mid-2011 and make up the largest numbers of registrations.

So who are these others and what sectors do they come from? From the data available it seems that they are wide ranging and, to give just a few examples, include: business, data, music, media and marketing analytics; gambling; the energy sector; the government; social media; the mobile phone industry; the health sector; motoring analytics and air traffic control!

Although this is probably not completely representative of the sectors making use of R in their data analysis it is good to see that at least interest in R is reaching far beyond just the two or three major data analysis sectors.

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