Nielsen SoundScan says U.S. album sales rose more than 3 percent last year to 458 million.
Adele's sophomore album "21" and her debut "19" took in high numbers, selling 5.8 million and 856,000 copies, respectively.
Also, Michael Buble's "Christmas" racked up 2.5 million album sales and Lady Gaga's "Born this Way" sold 2.1 million, boosted by a massive sale at Amazon.com earlier in the year for a heavily discounted 99 cents.
Digital album sales rose nearly 20 percent to 103 million, while CDs fell nearly 6 percent to 225 million.
The rest of the total is made up largely of digital single tracks, where 10 tracks are counted as one album. Digital singles sales rose nearly 9 percent to 1.27 billion.
Analysts say the increase is a sign that rising digital sales are finally making up for the decade-long decline in CD sales.
The Nielsen tally does not include growing subscriptions to all-you-can listen music plans, which have been rising thanks in part to the entry of Swedish service Spotify to the U.S. market in July.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.