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Study: Digital wallets increasingly interest consumers worldwide

Digital wallets continue to gain prominence in smartphones and laptops and dominate the global discussion of new ways to pay, with a mention rate of 75 percent in the 2017 edition of the MasterCard Digital Payments Study.

At the same time, consumers are showing an increased interest in the application of new technologies to make shopping faster, easier and more secure. The topic of virtual reality generated the most positive sentiment as shoppers imagine completing a purchase with a simple nod of the head.

Now in its fifth year, the study — developed in partnership with Prime Research and Synthesio — analyzed more than 3.5 million conversations from the past year across several social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Weibo.

"Technology is making the promise and the potential of a less-cash life a reality for more people every day," Marcy Cohen, vice president of digital communications at MasterCard, said in a press release. "This year's study notes a change in the level of interest for new ways to shop and pay that only a few years ago would have seemed far-fetched."

The increased acceptance of digital wallets in-store, online and in-app generated more than 2 million mentions, 84 percent of which occurred on Twitter, according to the study. Beyond payment, consumers looked forward to additional functionality such as loyalty cards storage and support for closed-loop payment systems for public transportation.

The activation of newer technologies such as artificial intelligence and smart home assistants was the second most discussed payment topic in 2016. These new ways to pay generated particularly strong consumer interest in the fourth quarter, as people discussed how they might shop with newer, smarter devices.