Which X Factor artist is the most successful?

From Leona Lewis to One Direction, Simon Cowell’s reality show has resulted in 29.6 million UK single sales – here’s how they stack up against each other

Stars of reality singing show The X Factor, whether they won their series or not, have clocked up 29.6 million UK single sales. 


According to the Official Charts Company (figures correct as of August 2013), Leona Lewis holds the crown for the most singles sold in the UK with 4.4 million single sales to her name. Olly Murs, who is rumoured to be returning to the reality show as a judge, is chomping at her heels with 3.9 million single sales.

Even last year’s winner James Arthur has made it into the top ten, with his winner’s single, a cover of Shontelle’s Impossible totalling up 1.2 million sales. 

While 2008’s winner Alexandra Burke places fifth in the list of total single sales, her winner’s single, Hallelujah, is still the highest selling X Factor winner’s single to date, with more than 1.25 million sales.

The popularity of One Direction has not been enough to bump JLS out of third place, taking fourth spot in the chart. 

Here’s how the top ten rank in order of how many singles they’ve sold*:

1. Leona Lewis: 4.4 million

2. Olly Murs: 3.9 million

3. JLS: 3.4 million

4. One Direction: 3.2 million

5. Alexandra Burke: 3.2 million 

6. Shayne Ward: 1.8 million

7. Little Mix: 1.4 million

8. James Arthur: 1.2 million

9. Matt Cardle: 1.2 million

10. Joe McElderry: 1.0 million 

*Figures are rounded so tied acts are ranked based on more absolute unit sales.