The new-look summer transfer window in the Premier League closed last night on the eve of the new top-flight season.
There was a late flurry of activity led by Everton and Fulham, but overall spending was reduced, according to a leading industry analyst.
The 20 top-flight clubs - or 19 of them, with Tottenham inactive all summer - combined to spend £110m on deadline day and £1.23bn over the window as a whole, compared to £210m and £1.43bn 12 months ago.
The numbers show that summer player transfer expenditure fell after seven consecutive seasons of growth.
However, the net spending of £865m is £180m higher than the record of £685m from summer 2016.
In contrast, Championship clubs’ gross spend was around £155m, falling short of the summer 2016 record of £215m.
Deloitte's sport business group found that Premier League clubs’ spent a quarter of their estimated 2018/19 revenue on summer player transfer. This is down from a 30% spend last summer.
Tim Bridge, Director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Premier League clubs’ gross player transfer expenditure of £1.2 billion continues to demonstrate the sheer purchasing power of the most commercially successful football league in the world.
"With Premier League clubs’ aggregate revenues forecast to reach £5 billion in 2018/19, clubs can well-afford to significantly invest in on-pitch talent in the quest for both success and survival.”
Of the players transferred-in, just £175m (14%) was spent on players already in the Premier League, a record low proportion across the history of the summer transfer window.
Bridge said: “On balance, the earlier deadline for the transfer in of players may have contributed towards a reduction in gross player transfer spending by the Premier League clubs.
“Subject to any late sales, the Premier League and its clubs may benefit from having playing squads settled and in place for the start of the new season.
"It is too early to predict what the effect will be on activity over the remainder of the month, or in January’s transfer window.”