These days, it’s usually more common for fans to listen to their favorite K-Pop songs through streaming apps or digital downloads, but physical album sales are still a very important part of the music genre!
Despite this digital age, there are many groups that are still making a huge amount of physical sales, though there are several popular groups from the 1990s and early 2000s that made it onto this list too. Here are the top 15 best-selling female K-Pop groups of all time.
15. Big Mama
Big Mama was a girl group that debuted in 2003, and had a 9-year career until 2012 when they disbanded. In that time, the four-member group sold a total of 567.5k albums, with their best-selling one being It’s Unique, released in May 2005 with around 160.1k sales.
f(x) debuted in September 2009 under SM Entertainment. Though they still haven’t officially disbanded, they have been inactive since their last release, “All Mine”, came out in 2016. However, they are still one of the top best-selling female K-Pop groups in the industry, with 599.8k total album sales! Their best-selling album was Pink Tape with 103.9k sales, released in July 2013.
MAMAMOO debuted in June 2014 under RBW Entertainment with “Mr. Ambiguous”, which some critics have called one of the best debuts in K-Pop history! They have become increasingly successful and popular over their careers, and from then until now, they’ve sold 651.0k copies of their albums. Their best-selling album was Reality in Black, released in November 2019 with 124.8k sales.
This four-member girl group debuted under YG Entertainment in early 2009 alongside BIGBANG with the song “Lollipop”. Their first single alone, however, was “Fire”, which became an instant hit with over a million views in the first day (which was a big deal back then!). From then until their disbandment in late 201, the group sold 791.0k albums, with their best-selling one being their debut EP 2NE1 which made 194.3k sales after its July 2009 release.
GFRIEND debuted in January of 2015 with “Glass Bead”, and was met with relative success early on despite being from a small company at the time, Source Music. They earned several rookie awards early on in their careers, and their popularity has steadily grown since then. Today, they’ve made a total of 914.7k album sales! Their best-selling album is Time for Us, which has made 96.0k sales since it came out in January 2019.
Apink originally debuted as a 7-member group in April 2011 with the lead single “Mollayo” under Play M Entertainment. The won their first award in the same year, which was the beginning of a very successful career for the girl group, both in Korea as well as other countries such as Japan. Since their debut, they’ve sold a total of 1.04 million albums, and their best-selling one was Pink Memory with 90.1k sales after its release in July 2015.
T-ARA debuted under MBK Entertainment in July 2009 with the single “Lie”, and though they haven’t officially disbanded, they’ve been on hiatus since 2018. Their popularity really took off with the release of “Roly-Poly” in 2011, which became Gaon‘s best-selling single of the year, and they also soon found huge success in Japan as well and even signed onto the Japanese management company J-Rock for $4.7 million USD.
They later became one of the most popular K-Pop groups in China as well, and despite a bit of a dip in their popularity around 2012 due to internal conflicts, they’re still an incredibly successful group! They’ve sold a total of 1.14 million albums.
8. Red Velvet
Red Velvet debuted with 4 members in August 2014 with the single “Happiness”, with Yeri joining later in March of the following year. In their 6 years together, the group has had some incredibly successful hits, and has won numerous awards for their singles, including “Power Up” which is the only SM Entertainment song to have achieved a Perfect All Kill! Despite having a quiet year in 2020 due to Wendy‘s injury, Red Velvet is still a very high-selling K-Pop group, with 1.55 million total album sales. Their best-selling album is The ReVe Festival: Day 1, which was released in June 2019 and has had 169.4k sales.
Fin.K.L is a girl group that was popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, debuting in 1998 under DSP Media with the album Blue Rain and a lead single of the same name. Though they were only active until 2005, the four-member group had a reunion in July 2019 on a variety show and released Fin.K.L Best Album, which included the new song “남아있는 노래처럼 (Just Like The Song That Remains)”. In total, they’ve sold 2.16 million albums during their career, with their best-selling album, White, making 593.8k sales since it came out in May 1999.
BLACKPINK debuted in August 2016 under YG Entertainment with the two singles “BOOMBAYAH” and “Whistle”. It’s no secret that they’ve become one of the most popular girl groups since they debuted, and it’s likely only a lack of album releases that they aren’t higher on this list, especially considering they have some of the most-viewed K-Pop music videos on YouTube! To date, they’ve sold 2.32 million copies of their albums, with The Album being their best-selling at 1.09 million copies sold since it came out in October this year.
IZ*ONE was created through the reality show Produce 48, and they debuted in October 2018 with the song “La Vie en Rose”, which gave them immediate commercial success. Unsurprisingly, they quickly won several awards, and soon made a successful debut in Japan as well. The girl group has sold 2.47 million total albums, with their best-selling one being Oneiric Diary. Since it came out in June of this year, it has sold 552.9k copies.
S.E.S was a girl group formed by SM Entertainment and debuted in 1997 with the album I’m Your Girl, which sold 650k copies and became the second-best-selling K-Pop girl group album at the time. They disbanded in December of 2002, but made a comeback in 2017 for their 20th anniversary with the special album Remember. They’re still one of the best-selling girl groups to date, with 3.58 million total albums sold, and their best-selling album Love has sold 760.5k copies since its October 1999 release.
KARA debuted under DSP Media in March 2007 with the single “Break It”. While the respective album was praised by critics, it didn’t do so well with the public, especially since they were over-shadowed by other popular girl groups at the time including senior labelmates Fin.K.L. After some member changes and changing up their sound, the group became successful with the release of “Honey” in 2009, which was their first number one single.
Their popularity continued to rise since then, and they became very successful in Korea as well as Japan from their debut until their disbandment in January 2016. They sold a total of 3.94 million albums, and their Japanese album Super Girl was their most successful with 778.0k sales after its November 2011 release.
2. Girls’ Generation
Girls’ Generation debuted in August 2007 under SM Entertainment with the song “Into the New World”. While they were actually met with a lot of criticism and even the infamous “black ocean” during a concert where anti-fans turned off their light sticks to show their distaste for the group, this girl group took off after they released “Gee” and became known as the nation’s girl group. They won numerous awards in their career, and though they still haven’t disbanded, they haven’t had a full-group comeback since 2017. Still, they’ve sold a whopping 6.03 million albums, with their best-selling one being the Japanese album Girls’ Generation, which came out in June 2011 and has made 871.0k sales.
TWICE debuted under JYP Entertainment in October 2015 with the debut song “Like OOH-AHH”. In months, it became one of the most-viewed debut music videos in K-Pop, though it was the release of “Cheer Up” and, later, “TT”, that really pushed the group into massive popularity. They’ve become one of the most awarded groups in K-Pop, and have a huge following in Japan as well! Because of all of this, they’ve sold an incredible 10.03 million album copies. Their best-selling album is More & More, which has sold 569.1k copies since it came out in June of this year.