SURVEY: CONSUMERS PREFER SAMPLING OVER COUPONS

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Procter & Gamble Co.'s elimination of coupons on all brands in certain test markets, beginning this week, couldn't come at a better time for the booming product sampling industry.

As P&G shuts out traditional coupons in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y., product sampling shops are expecting another year of record growth.

92% WANT SAMPLES

One of those, Target Marketing, senses opportunity in the P&G test and released results of a survey it conducted that said 92% of consumers would rather have a free sample vs. 8% who preferred cents-off coupons.

Also, it said, most consumers (65%) would rather get a free sample of a product they already use; 35% preferred a cents-off coupon.

"As coupon redemption slides, sampling continues to grow. This year more non-package goods marketers are also turning to sampling vs. coupons, because it gets more tangible results," said Peter Costa, Target Marketing's president, citing a revenue growth of 30% in 1995 from 1994.

For the poll, 2,056 adults were interviewed in 1995 by DataStar, a researcher. The margin of error was 2.16 percentage points.

COUPON DECLINE

Overall coupon redemption declined 4% in 1995 from the previous year, to 6.6 billion, according to a recent survey by CMS, a coupon redemption management company.

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Sample delivery

Consumers prefer samples to be delivered via the following methods:

Hand-to-hand62%

By mail32%

By newspaper6%

Source: Target Marketing survey of 2,056

consumers

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