More than 155m albums were bought or streamed in 2020, an increase of 8.2%, according to record label body the BPI.
British artists Lewis Capaldi, Harry Styles and Dua Lipa were the three biggest-sellers of the year.
BPI boss Geoff Taylor said the "remarkable" figures were a reminder of "how important music is to our country, even when our lives are disrupted".
Lewis Capaldi's Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent was the UK's biggest-selling album for the second year in a row.
However, despite the boom in consumption, sales of individual albums were down.