In a study that “defines today’s smartphone user,” the Online Publishers Association (OPA) says that 68 percent of smartphone owners “cannot live without” the device.

The complete PDF report, titled “A Portrait of Today’s Smartphone User,” contains insights into the behaviors and preferences of 2,540 Internet users aged 8 to 64 who took an online survey between March 19 and March 26, 2012.Smartphone user surveys

Although smartphones were rated essential to life, that’s only among the 44 percent of respondents who actually owned smartphones at all. Out of all survey-takers, only 33 percent said they could live without their smartphones; 62 percent couldn’t live without television, while 67 percent put their PC or laptop in that position.

One can only hope that 100% of respondents understood the innate hyperbole of the question.

The study also found that 93 percent of smartphone users regularly accessed content or information on the devices. Whether they used a native app or the mobile web depended somewhat on what kind of information or content was sought. Weather information was most often accessed through an app, for example, while other news and reference was more likely to be sought through the web.

“Consumers now expect the world at their fingertips anytime, anywhere, and publishers have worked vigorously to optimize their mobile sites and create apps that cater to this demand and behavioral shift,” said Pam Horan, President of the OPA, in a press release.

While most downloaded apps were free, respondents indicated a willingness to pay for content and respond to displayed ads. More than a fifth of respondents had paid for video, closely followed by entertainment, books, movies, weather, and TV shows. Those who had paid for content also had a more favorable view of smartphone ads, with twice as many saying they had clicked through an ad compared to smartphone owners as a whole.

Can you live without your smartphone? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: online publishers association, smartphone ads, your smartphone?, smartphone study, online publishers association study