The first major comprehensive measurement of babies and toddlers for over 30 years kicked off this week, with Marks & Spencer and Tesco the latest retailers to back the survey.
The manual measurement of 600 boys and girls under four years old across England, Scotland and Wales, to find how body shapes have changed, started yesterday.
The anonymous data, managed by research agency Select Research, will offer a new benchmark and insight into children’s size and shape for clothing manufacturers, retailers and academics.
The sponsoring retailers, which also include Next, Monsoon, Shop Direct and George at Asda, will use the data to upgrade their own measurements of clothing. The survey follows the measurement of four- to 17-year-olds using 3D body scanners.
Some retailers are still working from data collected from the last comprehensive survey in 1978, according to Richard Barnes, managing director of Select Research and project director for Shape GB.
“Shapes are changing,” said Barnes. “We found four to 17-year-olds had grown an average of 2.5cm in height since the last data in 1978.”
Tesco clothing technical director Alan Wragg said the comprehensive sizing research was “extremely beneficial and informative for both clothing retailers and customers”.
Marks & Spencer head of innovation and quality for kidswear Rebecca Thompson said: “This new survey will help provide further insight for retailers into the changing body shape of babies and toddlers across the nation.”
The six retailers sponsoring Shape GB account for 39% of the UK kidswear market in value and 47% of it in volume for the 52 weeks to December 25, according to Kantar Worldpanel.