Downloads of albums by Emeli Sandé and the cast of the film version of Les Misérables have boosted music sales for the first time in over three years.
Figures released by the BPI show that the number of albums sold in the UK rose by 1.4 per cent to 23.3 million during the first three months of 2013 – the first year-on-year rise since the end of 2009.
Data from the music trade body reveals that the number of digital downloads rose 17.8 per cent to 9 million, offsetting a 7.2 per cent fall in the number of CDs sold, which dipped to 14.2 million.
Vinyl sales and other formats such as cassettes accounted for the rest.
Geoff Taylor, BPI chief executive, said: "The Q1 sales figures illustrate that as digital grows its share, albums can follow the singles market back to growth.
"The strength in depth of British music is highlighted by newcomers such as Jake Bugg and Bastille sitting alongside iconic figures like David Bowie in the Top 20 best-sellers.
"The second quarter of 2013 looks promising for music fans, with big releases anticipated from Michael Bublé, Rod Stewart, Laura Marling, Daft Punk, and Noah & The Whale."
Emeli Sandé's multi-platinum selling Our Version of Events makes her the biggest-selling artist of the year, according to the BPI.
Elsewhere during the period, David Bowie's The Next Day gave him his first UK number one album since 1993, while winners and performers from the Brit Awards 2013 – including One Direction, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake – have also proved popular with British music fans.
The biggest-selling single of 2013 to date in the UK is "Thrift Shop" by the American duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
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