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KDnuggets Home » News » 2021 » Jun » Opinions » Major changes: Where Analytics, Data Science, Machine Learning were applied in 2020/21 ( 21:n23 )

Major changes: Where Analytics, Data Science, Machine Learning were applied in 2020/21


Our latest poll shows major change in where AI, Data Science, Machine Learning are being applied, with decline in interest in traditional fields like CRM/Consumer Analytics, and growth in applications to Computer Vision, COVID, Agriculture, and Education.



One of the advantages of having a long-running site like KDnuggets is the ability to examine trends and to compare poll results to similar polls we have done in the past. The comparison of the latest poll results with previous ones shows major changes, with big declines in many traditional Data Science application areas like CRM, and growth in other areas, including Computer Vision, Agriculture, COVID, and Education.

The latest KDnuggets Poll has asked
Where Did You Apply Analytics, Data Science, Machine Learning in 2020/21?

This poll has shown significant changes in application areas. The top area is Computer Vision (not asked in 2018 poll), followed by Finance (no in 2018). The long-time top application area of CRM/Consumer has moved to the 3rd place.

Here are the top application areas with more than 10% share:
  • Computer Vision / Image Recognition, 15.0%
  • Finance, 14.5%
  • CRM/Consumer analytics, 13.9%
  • Health care, 13.2%
  • Education, 12.8%
  • Banking, 12.3%
  • COVID, 11.4%
  • E-commerce, 11.0%
  • Science, 10.7%
Next, we compare the share of applications in 2020/21 with those reported for 2018 - see Fig. 1. We note that most application areas are in red, indicating that they lost share.

Poll Where Applied Data Science 2020 Vs 2019
Fig. 1: Where AI, Data Science, Machine Learning were applied in 2020/21 compared to 2018, for top areas with at least 6% share in 2020/21.

Two areas: Computer Vision and Covid have not been asked in 2018 poll and are shown as grey circles on the Y axis.
Shape size corresponds to share in 2020/21 poll.
Shape indicates the direction of change, up or down.
Color corresponds to % of change, greener for increase, red for decrease.

The new application areas in this poll were
  • Computer Vision / Image Recognition, 15.0%
  • COVID, 11.4%
  • Sports / eSports, 4.5%
  • Speech recognition, 3.6%
  • Food Delivery, 2.5%
  • Crime / Policing, 2.2%
  • Dating, 0.7%
Only 3 areas saw increase in share over 10%:
  • Agriculture, 39.6%
  • Other, 17.4%
  • Telecom / Cable, 11.7%
On the other hand, 24 areas saw decrease over 10% in share, with thee 18 areas saw a decrease of over 20%:
  • Social Policy / Survey, -56%
  • Insurance, -55%
  • Travel / Hospitality, -44%
  • Junk email / Anti-spam, -35%
  • Manufacturing, -31%
  • Entertainment/ Music / TV / Movies, -31%
  • Supply Chain, -28%
  • Mobile apps, -28%
  • Fraud Detection, -28%
  • Banking, -28%
  • Retail, -26%
  • Investment / Stocks, -26%
  • Games, -26%
  • CRM/Consumer analytics, -25%
  • Mining, -24%
  • Health care, -23%
  • Science, -21%
  • Social Good / Non-profit, -20%


Here is a another way to look at this data, created by Cong Tran. Poll Where Applied Data Science 2020 Vs 2019 Vertical
Fig. 2: Range plot for share of application areas for Analytics, Data Science, Machine Learning: 2020/21 vs 2018
This poll received responses from 447 people, vs 435 in the past poll in 2019. The average respondent chose 2.9 areas vs 3.0 in 2019 and 2.8 in 2018, so Data Scientists continue to work in about 3 different areas on average.

Finally, here is a table with more detail.

Application Area % share in 2020/21% share in 2018 % Change vs 2018
Computer Vision / Image Recognition15.0%newna
Finance14.5%16.1%-9.6%
CRM/Consumer analytics13.9%18.6%-25.5%
Health care13.2%17.2%-23.4%
Education12.8%11.7%8.8%
Banking12.3%17.0%-27.7%
COVID11.4%newna
E-commerce11.0%12.6%-13.3%
Science10.7%13.6%-20.8%
Other9.2%7.8%17.4%
Advertising8.5%9.0%-5.2%
Fraud Detection7.6%10.6%-28.1%
Software7.6%8.3%-8.1%
Agriculture7.4%5.3%39.6%
Automotive/ Self-Driving Cars7.2%7.6%-5.6%
Manufacturing6.9%10.1%-31.4%
Retail6.9%9.4%-26.4%
Telecom / Cable6.9%6.2%11.7%
Government / Military6.7%6.4%4.3%
IT / Network Infrastructure6.7%8.3%-18.9%
Medical/ Pharma6.7%7.8%-14.1%
Oil / Gas / Energy6.5%7.1%-9.0%
Biotech/Genomics6.3%6.7%-6.0%
Supply Chain6.3%8.7%-28.3%
Credit Scoring5.8%7.1%-18.4%
HR/workforce analytics5.8%5.7%1.2%
Search / Web content mining5.4%5.7%-6.6%
Social Media / Social Networks5.4%6.0%-10.2%
Investment / Stocks4.9%6.7%-26.2%
Sports / eSports4.5%newna
Direct Marketing/ Fundraising4.0%4.4%-7.8%
Insurance3.8%8.5%-55.3%
Speech recognition3.6%newna
Entertainment/ Music / TV / Movies3.4%4.8%-30.5%
Mining3.1%4.1%-24.3%
Mobile apps3.1%4.4%-28.3%
Games2.9%3.9%-25.6%
Travel / Hospitality2.7%4.8%-44.4%
Security / Anti-terrorism2.5%3.0%-17.7%
Food Delivery2.5%newna
Crime / Policing2.2%newna
Social Good / Non-profit2.0%2.5%-20.4%
Junk email / Anti-spam1.8%2.8%-35.1%
Social Policy / Survey analysis1.1%2.5%-55.8%
Dating0.7%newna


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