The study revealed that shop prices have plunged by 20 per cent in money terms over the past 12 years, or by 50 per cent when adjusted for inflation. However, 86 per cent of consumers polled for PwC by YouGov believed prices had gone up.
Store groups have pushed prices down by switching production to low-cost countries such as China, making the most of new technology and improving operations. They have also taken advantage of the weak dollar.
PwC Transaction Services retail leader Mark Hudson said: 'The winner is the consumer, who is getting more than ever for less than ever before. The consumer has never had it so good, yet there's still a perception that prices have gone up.'
Detailed findings from the survey will be presented at the Retail Week Conference on Wednesday. For more details, see the next issue of Retail Week (March 18).