Skip to main content

Adele’s ’21’ is the U.K.’s Best-Seller of the Decade

The British singer's all-conquering sophomore set has sold more than 4.75 million copies in her homeland to hold-off a challenge from homegrown boyband Take That for top honors.

It’s official: Adele’s 21 is the biggest-selling album of the decade to date in the U.K. 

The British singer’s all-conquering sophomore set has sold more than 4.75 million copies in her homeland to hold-off a challenge for top honors from homegrown boyband Take That, according to a new report published by the Official Charts Company.

Adele’s global hit spent 23 weeks at the U.K. chart summit, en route to shifting 4.75 million units there, the charts compiler has announced. It’s an impressive result for a country with a population of 64 million, and particularly so considering 21 and its predecessor 19 (which sits at No. 11 on the “decade” chart) are independent projects; they’re released in the U.K. through XL Recordings, part of Martin Mills’ Beggars Group (Adele’s albums are released in the U.S. via Columbia Records through a joint venture with XL). 

Adele’s New Album May Not Arrive Until End of 2015: Report


Adele’s blockbuster recording has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide following its arrival in 2011. 

In second position on the U.K.’s all-decade list is Take That’s Progress, which has shifted more than 2.374 million since its 2010 release. While Michael Buble’s yuletide-themed 2011 album Christmas is at No. 3 with sales of 2.216 million.

Rounding out the top five is Emeli Sande’s Our Version Of Events and Ed Sheeran’s X. Sande’s Events has sold 2.208 million units since its 2012 release and holds the title for the longest stint in the Top 10 of any debut album, surpassing The Beatles’ Please Please Me, while Sheeran’s second album X has now shifted 2.134 million copies since its release July 2014 and it was confirmed as the biggest-selling album of the year (Sheeran’s 2011 debut + sits at No. 6 on the “decade” chart with 1.958 million units sold).

Vinyl Sales Charts Launch in U.K.

Other popular artists on the OCC’s top 40 best-sellers list for the decade include the likes of Rihanna, Pink, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Buble, all of whom landed multiple albums on the chart. 

Adele’s 21 was named as the best-selling artist album of the millennium in an OCC report issued in March. There’s still no firm release date, or even a title, for her third studio album.

The Official Biggest Selling Artist Albums of the decade Top 10: 
1. Adele, “21” (Xl Recordings)    
2. Take That, “Progress” (Polydor/Universal)    
3. Michael Buble, “Christmas” (Reprise)    
4. Emeli Sande, “Our Version Of Events” (Virgin/EMI)    
5. Ed Sheeran, “X” (Asylum/Warner Music) 
6. Ed Sheeran, “+” (Asylum/Warner Music) 
7. Rihanna, “Loud” (Def Jam/Universal) 
8. Michael Buble, “Crazy Love” (Reprise)        
9. Sam Smith, “In The Lonely Hour” (Capitol/Universal)
10. Bruno Mars, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” (Atlantic)