New home service brands can play to people staying in


With the consumer trend to cut back by staying in continuing, entrepreneurial brands are catering to this audience – literally.

M&S chief Marc Bolland revealed a piece of insight today that could prove lucrative to the brands that are listening and responding. He was quoted in The Daily Telegraph predicting that consumers would maintain their spend for a fulfilled Christmas, but would cut back on New Year celebrations. Staying in over New Year, he said, would be the norm for many Britons this holiday season.

The popularity of M&S’s Dine in for £10 deal is testament to this move but is also coupled with a desire to still be excited by the experience. Rather than staying in meaning a night in front of the telly in your PJs, there are a range of brands adding glamour and fun to the home experience. Consumers today might need to act like Scrooge financially but certainly not socially and physically.

So who is providing a home-but-not-at-home experience? Well, supermarkets Morrisons and Waitrose have upped their gourmet food game. Morrisons has enlisted not one but five celebrity chefs to create exclusive product lines, such as Aldo Zilli’s Pizza Calabrese. Meanwhile, Waitrose’s latest outing with Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal features a range of cook at home kits that simplify the celebrity recipes but still provide professional results.

But look beyond big brands into the start-up space and you’ll see some real innovation. Tapping into the new hyperlocal phenomenon, new websites such as Hubbub and Housebites are allowing people to still have a high quality, “going out” experience in the comfort and austerity of their own home.

Both connect local people with local providers in a home delivery scheme. Putting in my postcode on Hubbub reveals a range of artisan bakers, fishmongers, boutique chocolatiers, cheesemakers and Italian delis all in my own borough. The beauty is I don’t have to spend an entire day schlepping round to each one – the website allows me to purchase bits from each, at their store price, with a £3.50 delivery charge.

Similarly, Housebites connects me with chefs whose freshly made treats I can have delivered to my door. Typing in my postcode reveals who they are and what they have on offer. Starters, mains and desserts are available, such as coq au vin and chocolate cake with Chantilly cream. Delivery is free if you spend £15, otherwise it’s £2.50.

Both bring restaurant quality products to your home without the restaurant price. And that is the key, as M&S demonstrated so well by offering three courses and wine with its Dine In deals. I’ve seen others, such as, that allows you to order restaurant dishes, at restaurant prices, with a delivery fee of £7.95. You may as well just eat in a restaurant, surely?

M&S’s statement revealed a £650 million investment into the brand’s online operations, recognising that start ups such as Hubbub and Housebites are onto something good. Bringing your brand and products into people’s homes by offering a seamless, delightful and affordable experience could be what makes your New Year.

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