In-Home Usage Tests (IHUTs) | Home Use Testing
ihut facial cream

In today’s competitive market, it’s more important than ever for brands to gather feedback from consumers. This feedback helps brands understand their target audience, improve their products, and ultimately increase sales. One effective way to gather this feedback is through in-home usage tests (IHUTs). In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what IHUTs are, why this popular market research methodology is important for both brands and consumers, and how to conduct a successful IHUT.

What Are In-Home Usage Tests?

In-home usage tests, also known as IHUTs, are a type of product testing where consumers are given a product to use in their own homes for a period of time. This allows brands to gather feedback on how the product performs in a real-life setting, rather than in a controlled testing environment.

IHUTs can be used for a variety of products, from food and beverages to household items and beauty products. They are typically conducted by market research companies on behalf of brands, and participants are compensated for their time and feedback.

This consumer research method is also sometimes known as HUT (home use test), in-home use test, home-usage test, and in-home user testing.

Gathering feedback from IHUT participants is usually done in two ways:

  1. Participants respond to a variety of quick online questionnaires for the duration of the study
  2. Research analysts are on site to question participants about their experiences

Why Are IHUTs Important for Brands?

IHUTs provide valuable insights for brands, allowing them to gather feedback from real consumers in a real-life setting. This feedback can help brands understand how their product is being used, what features consumers like and dislike, and how the product can be improved.

IHUTs also allow brands to test their product in a variety of demographics and locations, providing a more diverse range of feedback. This can help brands tailor their product to different target audiences and ensure its success in the market.

Additionally, IHUTs can help brands identify any potential issues with their product before it is released to the public. This can save brands time and money in the long run, as they can make necessary changes before the product hits the shelves.

Why Are IHUTs Important for Consumers?

For consumers, participating in IHUTs can be a fun and rewarding experience. Not only do they get to try out new products before they hit the market, but they also have the opportunity to provide valuable feedback and influence the development of the product.

Consumers also have the chance to earn compensation for their time and feedback, making IHUTs a great way to earn some extra money or try out new products for free.

How to Conduct a Successful IHUT

Now that we understand the importance of IHUTs, let’s explore how to conduct a successful one.

Define Your Objectives

Before conducting an IHUT, it’s important to define your objectives. What do you hope to learn from the test? What specific feedback are you looking for? This will help guide the rest of the process and ensure that you gather the necessary information.

Choose Your Participants

Choosing the right participants is crucial for a successful IHUT. They should be representative of your target audience and have a genuine interest in the product being tested. Market research companies, such as Wirral Sensory Services can help with participant recruitment, or you can reach out to your own customer base.

Provide Clear Instructions

It’s important to provide clear and concise instructions to participants before they begin the in-home usage test. This includes how long they should use the product, what specific feedback you are looking for, and any other important details. This will ensure that all participants are on the same page and provide consistent feedback.

Gather Feedback

During the IHUT, it’s important to gather feedback from participants in a variety of ways. This can include surveys, interviews, and product usage logs. It’s also helpful to gather both quantitative and qualitative data to get a well-rounded understanding of the product’s performance.

Analyse and Act on Feedback

Once the IHUT is complete, it’s important to analyse the feedback gathered and use it to make any necessary changes to the product. This can include tweaking features, adjusting packaging, or even scrapping the product altogether. The key is to use the feedback to improve the product and ultimately increase its success in the market.

Real-World Examples of Successful IHUTs

IHUTs have been used by many well-known brands to gather feedback and improve their products. One famous example is Coca-Cola, who used IHUTs to test their new flavor, Vanilla Coke. Participants were given the product to try in their own homes and provide feedback on the taste, packaging, and overall experience. This feedback was used to make adjustments to the product before it was released to the public, resulting in a successful launch.

vanilla coca cola

Another example is, a client of Wirral Sensory Services wanted to explore the use of two separate components used in the cooking of a microwave burger product that consumers used at home. The two components had different properties and therefore affected the final outcome of the cooked product.

The two NPD products were delivered to the panel along with instructions on how to prepare each product. They then tested each product over a 2 day period, ensuring they filled out the questionnaire after testing each individual product.

A report was generated showing the differences each component made to the final cooked product. The report highlighted the statistical differences between the two products as well as recommendations on which product would be most successful in the market.

Based on the feedback of the research, the client was able to clearly distinguish which component to use when finally taking the product to market to ensure a better cooked product.


In-home usage tests are a valuable tool for both brands and consumers. They allow brands to gather feedback from real consumers in a real-life setting, providing valuable insights for product development. For consumers, participating in IHUTs can be a fun and rewarding experience, with the added bonus of compensation for their time and feedback.

By investing in successful IHUTs brands can use the feedback gathered to improve their products and increase their success in the market. So the next time you see a new product on the shelves, remember that it may have gone through an IHUT with the help of consumers just like you.

Choose Wirral Sensory Services To Conduct In-Home Usage Tests

In-Home Usage Tests are redefining consumer research, providing businesses with more accurate and unbiased insights into consumer behavior and preferences. By implementing home use testing, brands can gain a competitive advantage, improve product development, and better understand their target audience. With the rise of technology and changing consumer habits, home use testing is becoming an essential tool for businesses to stay ahead in the market.

At WSS, our track record speaks for itself. With over 25 years in the field, we’ve conducted in-home usage tests for leading global brands, offering insights that drive product improvements that better resonate with target audiences.

Our dedicated team crafts tailored tests to suit your brand’s needs and turns consumer feedback into actionable insights that drive successful product development.
So, if you’re looking to truly understand your product’s impact and refine its appeal, WSS is here to help. Call us on +44 (0)151 346 2999 or via email at