Women Are buying twice as many clothes as ten years ago because of plummeting prices.
In today's disposable society, cheap handbags and 'fast-fashion' garments are thrown away after just a few outings.
Government figures show that the price of women's clothing has fallen by 34 per cent since 1995.
The price crash covers many other retail areas too. For example, over the same period the price of a vacuum cleaner has gone down 45 per cent and home audio-visual items, such as TVs, are down by 73 per cent.
Personal computers, now an everyday appliance in the home, are 93 per cent cheaper than ten years ago.
DVD players which were £300 two years ago are now selling for £50 or less.
In fashion, it is the arrival of chains such as Primark and Matalan, plus the move of the supermarkets into clothing, that has had a dramatic impact on prices.
Cheap versions of the latest catwalk designs from Paris, New York and Rome appear on the rails of budget stores within weeks.
This phenomenon has become known as fast-fashion. Prices are so low that shoppers don't even worry about washing or cleaning their purchases - they just throw them away and start again.
Richard Hyman, managing director of the retail analysts Verdict Research, said: "We're in uncharted waters.
"This deflation is not cyclical. Our forecasts do not anticipate any major increase in retail price inflation ever again. Over the last ten years, we calculate that women have doubled the average number of items they buy themselves in a year."
The whole shopping picture is changing rapidly in many ways.
Retailers, like shoppers, are subject to rising energy bills and higher council tax, and in the past they would have passed them on by pushing up prices.
However, competition is now so fierce that retailers cannot get away with this. And where shoppers used to boast about how much they paid for designer label handbags and dresses, it is the bargain hunters who now earn real admiration among their friends.
Shoppers queued to buy Tesco's Florence & Fred kingfisher blue Grecian dress, which was uncannily similar to a £1,400 dress from the Chloe label.
The real thrill was that the Tesco version of the dress cost only £35.
Similarly, Kookai scored with its 'Whip Stitch Pocket Bag', priced at £35, which was a lookalike version of another Chloe product at £1,000.
However, fast-fashion has its risks. Last year, Monsoon launched a £200,000 claim for damages against Primark over claims that it copied six of its best-selling products, including a bikini. Primark has also been pursued for damages by H&M over the copying of its designs.
One consequence of the shift is that a vast amount of UK manufacturing has been shut down, with tens of thousands of factory jobs moved to the Far East, particularly China.
In the last two years, European manufacturers and the European Commission have battled to hold back the tide of cheap goods by imposing quotas on imports, particularly on clothes and shoes.
However, these efforts are increasingly being seen as anti-consumer and protectionist.
Just this week, the CBI complained that moves by Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner, to stop the import of cheap shoes from China and Vietnam would mean higher prices for shoppers.