It sold 8.3 million copies – three million more than the next best-seller – and helped the music industry to an increase in revenue for the first time since 1999.
Boyband One Direction sold almost nine million albums. Their debut Up All Night sold 4.5 million, while follow-up Take Me Home racked up 4.4 million sales.
A report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents 1,400 record companies, shows revenues rose by around 0.3 per cent to $16.5bn (£10.8bn) in 2012 with digital sales accounting for around a third of the revenue.
Carly Rae Jepsen topped the 2012 global singles chart with Call Me Maybe which sold 12.5 million copies. Psy’s Gangnam Style, sold 9.7 million.