Billboard -- Adele's "21" is the first album to top the global albums chart for two consecutive years since the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) began reporting global best-sellers in 2001.
The all-conquering, Grammy-winning set sold 8.3 million units in 2012 and 18.1 million in 2011, according to IFPI's annual Digital Music Report, which was launched Tuesday in London.
The next best-selling artist album globally was Taylor Swift's "Red," moving 5.2 million units worldwide. One Direction's first two studio albums "Up All Night" and "Take Me Home" were the No. 3 and No. 4 best-selling albums of 2012 globally, selling 4.5 million units and 4.4. million, respectively.
Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" was the top-selling single of 2012 moving more than 12.5 million units worldwide. Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" featuring Kimbra was the second best-selling single of 2012, moving 11.8 million units. PSY's "Gangnam Style" was at No. 3 with worldwide sales of 9.7 million units.
"It's clear that in 2012 the global recording industry has moved onto the road to recovery," said chief executive Frances Moore at the IFPI's offices.
According to the report, total digital revenues for 2012 are estimated at $5.6 billion, up 9 percent on 2011's figure of $5.2 billion. Digital now accounts for more than a third of total industry revenues (34 percent) with digital revenues making up more than 50 percent of all recorded music income in Norway, Sweden and the U.S.