Producing stunning graphics in Mathematica® is incredibly easy. The built-in help is – well – very helpful! and the variety and quality of graphics, even for large data sets is impressive.
For R, Hadley Wikham has produced ggplot2, which is also quite amazing. However … it takes more than a little effort to learn how to use ggplot2. Hadley has even written a book: ggplot2 Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis, now in its second edition, to explain how to build graphics using ggplot2.
The difference between Mathematica® and ggplot2 in relation to graphics is like the difference between buying a car and driving away immediately, versus buying a car and having to read a detailed manual to get it going.
The fault, if indeed there is any fault, is with Wolfram and Mathematica®, and not with R.
Hadley Wickham and others have done an amazing job making free, open source, software available to a wide and appreciative user group.
Wolfram have worked long and hard to produce a superior product in Mathematica®, but the price is the sticking point to more widespread use of Mathematica® for data analysis and data visualization.
The Standard Desktop/Cloud version of Mathematica®, which includes 1 year of Premier Service Plus, Mathematica Online, Upgrades, Standard support, and Personal-use license will set you back a cool \$2,885. There’s a “special” price of only \$1,295 for Education users, \$150 for individual students, and \$310 for home and hobby use.
If you are a recent graduate seeking a job in data analysis is it going to help listing Mathematica® as one of your programming and data analysis skills? Not really, because relatively few industries use Mathematica® for this purpose. Will it help to list R as one of your programming and data analysis skills? You bet it will because many industries use R for that purpose.
Stephen Wolfram and company have likely made a considerable amount of money with Mathematica®. It’s a pity they cannot now see fit to reduce the price point to a level where Mathematica® became the de facto standard for data science and statistics, something it presently is a very long way from being. A price of \$25 – \$50 would be good, and might encourage a broader community of data analysts to begin using Mathematica®.