The first few months of 2013 will be a bargain-hunter's paradise, with more businesses cutting prices than at any point in the last 24 years.
A survey of 1,200 business owners and senior managers in the retail, wholesale and manufacturing sectors, shows a larger-than-usual number expect to have to offer price discounts to overcome the post-Christmas sales slump.
Dun and Bradstreet's selling price expectation index has fallen to a record low - indicating more businesses are planning to offer discounts during the March quarter than at any point since the survey began in 1988.
The lower prices are expected to be accompanied by weaker activity, with sales falling and businesses reducing their inventory levels, the survey showed.
Dun and Bradstreet's director of corporate affairs, Danielle Woods said the survey suggested businesses were cutting prices to stimulate spending during the difficult post-Christmas months.
"We know that there is traditionally a drop off in spending following the Christmas period as consumers play catch-up with their household budgets and debts following an often expensive holiday period," she said.
"These findings suggest that businesses are planning to negotiate the spending slump by extending discounting through the New Year and by managing their stock carefully."
Ms Woods said business' selling price expectations have been below their ten-year average since 2009.
"Although the most recent data has taken selling price expectations to a new low, it is part of a long downward trend that suggests ongoing discounting has become the new normal," she said.
D&B's economic adviser Stephen Koukoulas said the expected price cuts would help keep inflation low and added to the case for the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates again in early 2013.
"It remains likely that the inflation rate will remain near the bottom of the RBA target band (of annual inflation of two to three per cent), which will be a critical issue for the RBA when it decides future interest rate settings."