Eh. The question is not what people perceive as a "gift". It is what they are willing to purchase.
And for the most part, people don't want physical products these days. When I've done experiments and provided high quality prints at-cost to parents for events with their children, even then it's almost impossible to get them to order prints and the like. The rare person will, but they are the exception.
I think that they drew the wrong conclusion from the data. What it likely actually means: people aren't that all interested in physical photo outputs anymore.