Last-minute Christmas shopping helped yield a record number of vinyl albums sold in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.
In the week ending Dec. 26, a whopping 1.243 million vinyl albums were sold, marking the single largest sales week for the format since Nielsen Music began electronically tracking music sales in 1991. Further, it is the first time vinyl LP sales have surpassed 1 million copies in a single week in the Nielsen Music era.
The biggest-selling vinyl album in the week ending Dec. 26 was Harry Styles’ Fine Line, with 16,000 copies sold. Rounding out the top five sellers for the week: Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (16,000), The Beatles’ Abbey Road (12,000), the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack (12,000) and Queen’s Greatest Hits (11,000).
The previous largest week for the vinyl album format in the Nielsen Music era was set just a week earlier, when 973,000 vinyl LPs were sold in the frame ending Dec. 19.
Of the top 10 single biggest weeks for the vinyl album format in the Nielsen Music era, five occurred in 2019, three in 2018, one in 2017 and one in 2015.
Vinyl albums were once the dominant format for album purchases in the U.S., up until the early 1980s. After that, cassettes took hold until the early 1990s, when the CD format flourished and become the leading format for album purchases.
While the vinyl format had been dormant for years, it hit the comeback trail in the mid-2000s. And, in 2018, vinyl sales celebrated a 13th consecutive year of growth. In 2018, vinyl album sales represented 11.9% of all album sales in the U.S. for the year.
It’s expected that 2019 will mark yet another big year for vinyl, once the 2019 Nielsen Music tracking year closes on Jan. 2, 2020.