Thanks for reading my post!
Well for me it was immediately obvious because my codebase was really big, therefore improvements were immediately visible.
Unfortunately this was a long time ago, and I cannot run the project now to give you a very concrete answer to your question.
However, there is one thing that can verify that your HMR configuration is correct:
Webpack will create a very small chunk indicating the incremental changes made to the final output. Each time, it will create one of them (so you may end up having dozens of them in a short amount of time) in the form of “*.hot-update.js” or “*.hot-loader.json”. Check your output folder. If you see them, then HMR works correctly. There are configurations that will hide this output, so you may want to enable this debug output.
I hope I helped.