For me it looks like that devs are trying to stay away from gulp, bower especially with new NPM…

It’s not a secret that gulp is slow, buggy, and still — a wrapper. However, preferring direct npm would be like like using Ubuntu terminal instead of it’s UX, just because it’s better (?). Yes, it’s better/faster — but only for advanced users. As for React.js — let’s just face the fact that Facebook likes building it’s own “better” tools for everything ;) (and I‘d say they are talented)