Top 20 R packages by popularity

Wondering which are the most popular R packages? Here's an analysis based on most downloaded R packages from Jan to May 2015 to identify the top trending packages in the R world!

The CRAN Package repository features 6778 active packages. Which of these should you know? Here is an analysis of the daily download logs of the CRAN mirror from Jan-May 2015. See a link to full data at the bottom of the post.

top-20-r-packages-downloads Most of these R packages are favorites of Kagglers, endorsed by many authors, rated based on one package's dependency on other packages, some of them gained mentions on Quora and on various R blogs.

They are also rated & reviewed by users as a crowdsourced solution by We also present the CRANtastic rating of few packages here only to represent that it is gaining popularity. However, some of these packages have user ratings that are too few to be based on for analysis and hence, for these we omitted the ratings.

Let us explore the list based on the number of downloads!

  1. Rcpp Seamless R and C++ Integration (693288 downloads, 3.2/5 by 10 users)
  2. ggplot2 An Implementation of the Grammar of Graphics (598484 downloads, 4.0/5 by 82 users)
  3. stringr Simple, Consistent Wrappers for Common String Operations.(543434 downloads, 4.1/5 by 18 users)
  4. plyr Tools for Splitting, Applying and Combining Data(523220 downloads, 3.8/5 by 65 users)
  5. digest Create Cryptographic Hash Digests of R Objects. (521344 downloads)
  6. reshape2 Flexibly Reshape Data: A Reboot of the Reshape Package (483065 downloads, 4.1/5 by 18 users)
  7. colorspace Color Space Manipulation (476304 downloads, 4.0/5 by 2 users)
  8. RColorBrewer ColorBrewer Palettes(453858 downloads, 4.0/5 by 17 users)
  9. manipulate Interactive Plots for RStudio. (395232 downloads)
  10. scales Scale Functions for Visualization(394389 downloads)
  11. labeling Axis Labeling (373374 downloads )
  12. proto Prototype object-based programming. (369096 downloads)
  13. munsell Munsell colour system. (368949 downloads)
  14. gtable Arrange grobs in tables (364015 downloads)
  15. dichromat Color Schemes for Dichromats (362562 downloads)
  16. mime Map Filenames to MIME Types.(352780 downloads)
  17. RCurl General network (HTTP/FTP/...) client interface for R. (340530 downloads, 4.2/5 by 11 users)
  18. bitops Bitwise Operations(322743 downloads)
  19. zoo S3 Infrastructure for Regular and Irregular Time Series (Z's Ordered Observations) (302052 downloads, 3.8/5 by 11 users)
  20. knitr A General-Purpose Package for Dynamic Report Generation in R. (295528 downloads)
All the top 20 (Jan-May 2015) above are covered in Top R package ranking for April .

For completeness, here is data on 135 R package downloads, from Jan to May 2015.

Did we miss your favorites? Light up this space and contribute to the R community by letting us know which R packages you use!!


Bio: Bhavya Geethika is pursuing a masters in Management Information Systems at University of Illinois at Chicago. Her areas of interests include Statistics & Data Mining for Business, Machine learning and Data-Driven Marketing.