Adele's 21 has made history again by becoming the first album in the Nielsen SoundScan era to finish as the top annual seller for two successive years.
Newly-released SoundScan figures show 21 sold an unmatched 4.41 million copies last year, having shifted 5.82 million units in 2011 when it also finished as the year's top seller. For the year just gone it finished around 1.3 million sales ahead of its nearest rival, Taylor Swift's Red, which sold 3.1 million copies by the end of the year despite having only been released in October.
Four of the year's five biggest albums are by UK acts with Adele's 21 joined at 3 by One Direction's Up All Night with 1.62 million sales, at 4 by Mumford & Sons' Babel with 1.46 million copies sold and at 5 by One Direction again, this time with 1.34 million sales of their second album Take Me Home. UK veteran Rod Stewart is at 15 with Merry Christmas, Baby.
Also making the year-end albums Top 10 are Justin Bieber, country stars Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean and Lionel Richie with his own Nashville effort Tuskegee. With Taylor Swuft at 2, in all there are five country albums in the year-end Top 10, a record showing.
The top three singles of 2011 in the UK are also the top three sellers in the US with Gotye featuring Sia's Somebody That I Used To Know at 1 after shifting 6.80 million copies, Carly Rae Jepsen at 2 with 6.47 million copies sold of Call Me Maybe and Fun featuring Janelle Monae's We Are Young at 3 with 5.95 million copies sold. The highest-ranked UK track is One Dierction's What Makes You Beautiful, which finishes at 6 after shifting 3.89 million units.
Across the year album sales in the US fell by 4% to 315.96 million units with the CD market dropping 13% and digital sales up 14% to a new high of 117.68 million units. Downloads made up 37% of the US albums market in 2012, up from 31% the previous year with Adele's 21 the top digital seller (1.04 million units sold). A record 1.336 billion one-track downloads were sold in the year, up 5% on 2011.