The postal service is losing money. If we all sent thank-you notes we might help it stay afloat.
When my oldest daughter was married it was so confusing; we were moving from NYC, we had a destination wedding, she was finishing grad school and moving cross-country to a new city. Our addresses were shifting all around. She had thank-you notes written, addressed and stamped, that got lost in the melee buried in a satchel with her wedding shoes. We had gifts that arrived without an identifying card or tag. She had been taught to write thank-you's immediately. She knew the rules.
Since then, all I want to know when I send a gift is whether it arrived. An email is sufficient and a few sentences of appreciation are just fine. I'm more worried if a gift gets there than I am about the proper etiquette of things, especially since we've lived in Santa Fe, NM, where the mail and other delivery can make me think we live in the Third World. Really, just tell me: did you get it? did you like it?
Long ago I quit giving gifts to some people after I never had a word of appreciation, written or otherwise. That proper thank-you was a big deal. Sometimes gifts just aren't wanted and -- why waste time with the process? But etiquette is fluid and a thank-you should be done by the receiver of any gift. I just think email is fine, even a text, or even in person. What is required is that a special effort must be made by the receiver. I still send proper notes on fine stationery to some people (which include all of the people who can still tell an engraved invitation from a printed one).
Manners and customs are fluid while courtesy and thoughtfulness are the benchmarks of etiquette. I'd much rather get a warm, heartfelt email promptly or a personal face-to-face thank-you than a perfunctory written note that says the most minimal thanks. I can't stand not knowing if my gift ever got to the receiver.