SAS vs R : Which One is Better for Statistics Operations


Today, I am going to share with you the comprehensive difference between SAS vs R to find out which one is best for statistics operations. Let’s start with the definition of both these technologies:-

SAS stands for Statistical Analysis System. Nowadays, SAS has become one of the major choices of every business. That’s why it is becoming the market leader in the commercial analytics space.

SAS offers a variety of functions along with a great UI. These features help individuals to learn this software at a rapid speed.

Apart from that, the individuals also get technical support whenever they require it. SAS is a bit costly and doesn’t provide the latest and most effective statistical functions.

R is open-source software. It was developed by the researchers. That’s why the majority of professors and researchers are using R.

The best part of R programming is that it is an open-source programming language. Due to its open-source nature, all the latest techniques get released immediately with R.

This language has plenty of documentation along with the community to help its users whenever they get into trouble using R.

SAS vs R Trending Graph: Which is in demand, SAS or R?

SAS and R are both highly demanded software. That is why the graph of both keeps on fluctuating. But if we see the graph individually, then it is clear R is in high demand. Because of this, there are various job opportunities that are beneficial for you. 

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Below are the salary packages for both skills. In this, R is also the clear winner. Because of its useful functionalities, R is highly demanded. 

SAS is also offering you a good salary package. Here we can say that both can provide you the best career options with high salary packages.

SAS popularity is decreasing, so should I learn it in 2021?

Well, it has been seen that SAS has numerous advantages, and one of the best usages is that it can deploy end-to-end infrastructure (like Data warehouse, reporting, and analytics, Visual Analytics, Data quality). It is mitigated with the support/integration of R on the platforms such as Tableau and HANA. 

That is why there are big companies that are still using this software. Moreover, it is easy to understand and learn. Therefore, it is always good to learn it if you are a beginner. 

Major difference between SAS and R (Tabular form)

AvailabilitySAS is commercial software. R is open-source software that anyone can use.
Statistical AbilitiesSAS provides a robust package that offers all kinds of statistical analysis and methods.Being an open-source tool, it enables the users to submit their libraries/packages.
UpdatesSAS is comparatively less updated.R is an open-source tool; that is why it keeps on updated.
Graphical CapabilitiesSAS provides great graphical support. But, it does not allow customization.The graphical support of the R tool is quite poor.
Support for Deep learningDeep Learning is still at the initial stages, so it needs a lot to work on before it matures.R grants advanced deep learning integrations for better usages.
DebuggingSAS offers easy debugging methods and techniques.Debugging is quite a tricky technique and method.
Best featuresVariablesFunctionsNested rulesMixinsMaintainableData analysisHighly interactiveFlexible statistical analysis
Famous companies usingAirbnb, Asana, StackShare, HubspotInstacart, Opbandit, Adroll, Custora
Ease of LearningSAS is the most accessible tool to learn. Therefore, people who have limited knowledge of SQL can understand it easily.R programmers require to address tricky & lengthy codes.
File SharingIt is not possible to share SAS-generated files with other users who do not use SAS.But with R, it is much easier to share R-generated files with other users.
Market ShareCurrently, SAS is facing strong competition with R and different Data analytical tools. This led to a decline in the market share of SAS.R growth has been increasing in the last five years. Therefore, its market share is rapidly growing.
Customer SupportIt offers dedicated customer support.It has the biggest online communities. However, it does not have customer service support.
TIOBE Rating2216
Job ScenarioVarious big companies still work with the SAS software.Jobs in the R keep increasing over the last several years.

Key differences: SAS vs R

Availability / Price

I’ve already mentioned that SAS is commercial software, not open-source. It is one of the most expensive statistics software. The majority of professionals are not able to purchase SAS.

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But the majority of large enterprises are using this software. That’s why it holds a larger market share than R. In other words, SAS is not for an individual rather than for the organization.

On the other hand, R is open-source software. Therefore anyone can download it and use it by paying any charges. Price is a big concern between SAS vs R.

Ease of learning

SAS is easy to learn for anyone, whether it is a professional or a beginner one. Basically, SAS works on PROC SQL, which can be easily understood by individuals who already understand the SQL. Apart from that, SAS also offers a great UI to the users, along with plenty of tutorials.

These tutorials are quite helpful in understanding the SAS software. In addition, it also offers a complete user manual whenever you purchase the software.

On the other hand, R is a tough programming language. It is quite tough for the beginner to use the R programming language.

It requires lots of effort and dedication to master the R programming language. R is a low-level programming language. Thus, it needs to write a longer code in it.

Progress in the application

R is an open-source programming language; that’s why it always gets the latest features faster than SAS. On the other hand, SAS provides the latest features in the new updates.

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The development process of SAS is now becoming faster. On the other hand, R was used by some of the professors in the past. The best part of SAS up-gradation is that all its latest features are analyzed in the managing environment.

On the other hand, in R, there are not well-analyzed features when we get the latest update of R. In fact, R provides an open-source community where the programmers and researchers contribute to making R better.

Statistical Capacity

Nowadays, SAS programs and SAS stat pack a strong packs. In addition, it covers all the entire techniques and statistical evaluation virtually. On the other hand, R is an open-source programming language.

Any individual can submit their program and contribute to developing the libraries of R. In this way, the most advanced cutting edge techniques are always released in R. With the help of individual efforts, CRAN is holding more than 15000 programs.

In addition, there are some of the most advanced techniques like GIMLET, AdaBoost RF can only be accessible with R. Other than that, you can also obtain some experimental programs using R. Some of the most powerful data miners also use R to construct their models.

On the other hand, SAS is paid software with technical support. SAS is used in several mission duties, where other techniques are unable to be prettied to creep in.

All the latest development and new statistical techniques are always checked before the release of the new software.

Customer care support & community

R is known for its largest online community. R is an open-source language. That’s why there is no customer care support. If the user faces any problem with R, then he/she can ask for help in the R community.

On the other hand, SAS software provides dedicated customer care support along with the community. Whenever the user faces any problem with the SAS software, they can ask for help from technical support.

On the other hand, if they want to stay updated with the software features and new releases. Then they can ask the same in the community.

Also Read

SAS vs R: Rating and industry usage.

SAS is quite easy to learn as compared to the R. But, if we consider other points like advancement in the tools, data handling capabilities, and much more, then R is the clear winner. 

Overall, we can say that R is very useful to use. Moreover, it provides more functionalities than SAS. But various industries use SAS and R, and these are:

Here, we can say that there are various industrial applications of both SAS and R. 

Key Points

Is SAS easier than R?

If you are one of the freshers who are new to the analytics industry, then it is beneficial to go with the SAS. It has simple and easy-to-understand concepts. Apart from this, it holds the highest job market shares. 

Which is better, SAS or R?

Several companies that were preferring SAS due to security issues are switching to other tools. But, still, there are various companies that rely on this software.
At the same time, R considers being ideal for the experts who work with deep cost-effective data analysis. Therefore, we can say that it depends on you for which purpose you want to use the software.


In the end, we can say that there is not a solid winner between SAS vs R. Based on the points above, we can’t say that anyone is going to predominate the other one. You can choose the best one on the basis of your conditions and needs if you need r programming help from our experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are SAS skills in demand?

As per the survey of Payscale and MONEY, SAS is included in the list of top 21 highly demanded career skills. Moreover, it also helps in getting high salary packages. Therefore, it is not incorrect to say that SAS is in high demand.

Can you use R in SAS?

R can be a good option for SAS as it helps in doing statistical computing and graphics. R offers different techniques, including powerful graphics packages like ggplot2, grid, and more.

What are functions in R?

Functions in R are “self-contained” modules with some kind of data structures, process the data, and return the result.

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