Business Tools

What Are Donut Charts Used for in Business Data Visualization?


Advanced technology has now made it simpler for businesses to interpret data in a visually appealing, comprehensive manner. Data visualization benefits companies by improving decision-making, identifying trends and outliers, and deciphering complex business patterns.

A prime tool used in data visualization is donut charts, but what are donut charts? In this article, we venture deep into the world of donut charts and how they benefit businesses.

Understanding Donut Charts in Data Visualization

Donut charts, close relative to pie charts, are circular graphs that portray data in ring-like sectors. These sectors represent categories and their quantities in the dataset. The size of each ring segment correlates to its proportion of the total sum.

Donut charts are primarily used to show proportional or percentage data, thus simplifying the comparison of different parts to a whole. This chart is particularly useful when you want to draw attention to each segment’s role in the overall makeup, driving insights from data in a visual format.

Unlike a pie chart, a donut chart has a space at the center that provides room for additional information or annotations. This makes the chart not only visually appealing but also highly effective in communicating complex data.

Bitten Donut

Essential Elements of Donut Charts

The essential parts of a donut chart include the sectors and labels. The sectors, or ‘donut slices,’ correspond to categories of the data set, each demonstrating their significance in the whole by their ‘slice’ size. Larger slices imply larger data quantity.

The labels provide context to the data, such as the category name and its corresponding percentage or numerical value. Without labels, viewers may not fully understand the data presented in the donut chart, thus dampening its effectiveness.

In larger datasets, a legend may be necessary. This is a key that defines the colors or patterns used for the different sections of the donut chart. This is particularly crucial when the number of categories exceeds the number of distinct, easily discernible colors.

The Role of Donut Charts in Data Visualization

In the business world, donut charts play a significant role in data visualization. They can visualize sales data, revealing the percentage contribution of different products or regions toward total sales. This is crucial in recognizing best-sellers and regions requiring additional marketing efforts.

Donut charts assist businesses in visualizing survey results. This can help analyze customer satisfaction, employee sentiment, and market research. They offer a quick, easy-to-understand snapshot of the survey findings, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions effectively.

Donut charts can also visually represent performance metrics. For instance, they can indicate progress in achieving targets, such as sales objectives or project completion. This can be helpful in tracking business performance against pre-set goals and motivating teams to increase productivity.

Finally, in financial analyses, donut charts can visualize revenue breakdowns: from different revenue streams, expenditure categories, or periodic financial performance.

Advantages of Using Donut Charts for Business Data

The primary advantage of donut charts is their simplicity and visual appeal, which provide easy understanding and interpretation of data. They transform complex datasets into a reader-friendly visual that can be grasped quickly.

Another benefit of donut charts is their ability to showcase part-to-whole relationships efficiently. By visually distinguishing each data segment, they accurately depict relative proportions, making it easier for readers to understand individual contributions and comparisons.

Altogether, it is evident that donut charts play an integral role in business data visualization. When used correctly, they can provide clear, impactful, and valuable insights that can guide strategy and decision-making in various business contexts.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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