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Best baby and child shops revealed

The best baby and child shops – as well as the ones to avoid – have been revealed by new Which? research. 

We quizzed thousands of shoppers about buying everything from pushchairs to baby monitors to reveal the best stores for everything from value to money to customer service.

Here, we unveil the best baby and child stores, plus look at how the cost of living crisis is affecting how people shop for baby and child items.

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Which are the top baby and child shops?

The table below* lists the three highest-scoring shops in our survey.

*The results are based on an online survey of 10,588 members of the Which? Connect panel and of the general public who told us about 2,559 experiences of buying baby and child products from UK retailers. The survey was conducted in May and June 2022.

To find out how all 22 stores, including Amazon, Next and Smyths Toys scored, see our guide to the best and worst baby and child shops. It will tell you which are best for value for money, product quality, customer service and returns, plus a whole lot more. 

baby sleeping on woman's shoulder

Why the top stores impress customers

Top of our table is John Lewis, which dazzles shoppers with five stars for everything except the amount of packaging used and value for money, where it still gets a respectable four stars. Customers love the quality of its products, the range it offers and the helpfulness and knowledge of its staff. Customers choose it over other retailers due to its great reputation and first-class customer service. 

One happy customer buying a child car seat at John Lewis summed it up for many by saying: ‘The sales associate was very knowledgeable and helpful about the product range. John Lewis is usually very competitively priced and its returns policy is great. After-sales service is very good.’ Another added: ‘The whole customer experience is of a high quality.’

Maxi-Cosi comes second in the table. Shoppers gave it full marks for the quality of its products, its range and availability, and the value for money it offers. They choose it due to the specialist products it sells, which includes car seats and travel systems. One customer said: ‘The products are of a high standard that I trust to be safe to use for my baby.’ Another added: ‘The brand is well known and has a good reputation for sage, quality products that are straightforward to use for parents.’ Maxi-Cosi was also the only baby and child shop to be named as a Which? Recommended Provider. This means that not only did it perform outstandingly in our survey, it also passed our stringent behind-the-scenes checks on its T&Cs on returning purchases. 

Meanwhile, Joie Baby comes third – again with the full five stars for value for money – as well as a range of other measures. Shoppers go to Joie Baby as they love the cost of its products and its good reputation.  

couple looking at pushchair

Which baby and child stores are the best value for money? 

Four in 10 shoppers buying baby and child products in the first six months of 2022 noticed that prices are going up – and nearly one in five said that prices had gone up ‘a lot’. 

So what, if anything, did baby and child shoppers do as a result of rising prices? 

The top answer was comparing prices before deciding which product to buy (41%), followed by buying cheaper items or those from budget ranges (31%) and then buying fewer items (21%). Other responses to rising prices were buying second-hand.

Worryingly, 18% of baby and child shoppers who had noticed rising prices used credit as a result of this, including borrowing from family and friends or using a credit card, payday loan or a buy now, pay later scheme. 

Maxi-Cosi and Joie Baby both got maximum marks for value for money, but so did several other stores. Find out which in our guide to the best and worst baby and child shops

Which baby and child shops came bottom?

baby looking at jar of food

The table below* reveals the three retailers that received the lowest customer scores in our survey. For full results, visit our guide to the best and worst baby and child shops

*The results are based on an online survey of 10,588 members of the Which? Connect panel and members of the general public who told us about 2,559 experiences of buying baby and child products from UK retailers. The survey was conducted in May and June 2022.

At the bottom of the table is Argos, although it still picks up four stars for everything except after-sales service and returns, where it got three, which is not great, but not dreadful, either. Many customers described it as ‘quick and easy’, but one said their boxes were crushed and another labelled their experience ‘not the best’.

Also towards the bottom are Boots and Currys. Both are among the lowest scorers for value for money, where they get three out of five stars. Currys is also among the worst performers for after-sales service and returns, and the amount of packaging used. It’s interesting, though, that Boots does really well for the quality of its products. 

Several customers spoke of Boots’ good reputation and family-friendly image. But one said: ‘Boots has become less “customer focused”. The stores are drab and need updating. They now insist that you use the serve yourself checkout service.’

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