One Direction are on top of the world again as popularity grows

Niall Horan of One Direction

By Robert Dex

One Direction has been named the most successful UK-based act in the world for the third year running.

The boy band, who found worldwide fame despite losing out in the 2010 X Factor, released their latest album, Four, in November and it topped the iTunes chart in 85 countries.

Its success in the United States made 1D the first ever act to debut at number one in the Billboard chart with each of their first four albums.

The band, currently in the middle of a world tour taking in Australia, Europe, Asia and America, said: "We just want to thank all our amazing fans everywhere.

"Every time we visit a new country we feel instantly accepted and it's mind-blowing to think the five of us have been able to connect with so many people."

Their all-conquering status was confirmed by industry body the IFPI (International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry).

Simon Cowell  who has guided the group's rise to fame, said: "I am absolutely delighted - and immensely proud - that One Direction were the biggest UK act in the world in 2014.

"To accomplish this for a third year in a row is a fantastic achievement - and especially pleasing as this latest album also highlighted the band's skills as songwriters," he said.