It wasn't all that long ago that owning a PC was considered a luxury. Particularly during the early period of PC sales growth in the late 80s and early 90s, a PC was a relatively large and expensive piece of equipment that many could do without, and many still do today. The number of people going without one, however, is rapidly shrinking – and according to recent estimates, there is nearly 1 PC for every 6 humans on the planet.

Research firm Gartner estimates that the installed base of PCs worldwide exceeds one billion machines, and claims there will be twice that many in use only six years from now.

Some other interesting bits of information came from the study. The majority of those PCs are in “mature” markets, countries like the United States, Canada, the EU and others. However, they expect the more rapid growth to begin occurring in emerging markets, making of the “low-cost” PC more than just a fad, but a stepping stone to worldwide PC penetration.