"Should" and "well" are such imprecise words, I wonder if they shouldn't be used.
While my own preferences are for lower gears and sturdier (= heavier) bikes, there is such a wide diversity of bikes, loads, routes, and riders that it's really difficult to lay down any absolutes. A fit 20-year-old with Pete's lightweight 15-pound load can probably climb any reasonable* hill with standard road bike gearing (34-30 low, or the like). OTOH, there's people whose bike plus load weight exceeds 100 pounds; if they're overweight, older, tired, ill, or in poor condition, there may be no gearing available that will let them climb some of the tougher hills. (Either way, I doubt that anyone never wishes for lower gears, including pro cyclists!)
Any absolute statement of gearing requirements, or bicycle requirements, therefore needs to be caveated. Heavily.
If you're going to talk about an average cyclist and his/her needs, it's be wise to specify the age of that average cyclist, the average load, the average peak grade and distance. And the average temperature and average ride distance before reaching that peak grade. For the average 45 (+/- 15) year old cyclist, carrying an average 40 (+/-10) pound load, climbing an average 12 (+6/-4)% grade, an average off-the-shelf loaded touring bike, with an average 22 (+0/-3) gear-inch low sounds about right. Variances to deviations to these averages may be appropriate.
*There are roads in the Appalachians and Sierras that are not reasonable. They're fun to come down, though!