The global recession brought with it many predictions of slowing – if not reversing – globalization. Media outlets reported on a decrease in cross-border initiatives and decline in global trade. This week’s Economist suggests that, "'The end of globalisation' was a common refrain" among those looking forward at emerging markets in 2009; another recent feature in the publication showed a decrease in the number of articles mentioning "globalisation".

Yet when it came to eCommerce, there was little slowing of global initiatives in 2009. High-profile market retreats like those of JCPenney from Australia and eBags from the UK tended to come early in the economic downturn rather than late, and indeed the last few months of 2009 witnessed major online retailers such as Gap and expanding or announcing their intention to expand into new international markets. Facilitators of international eCommerce like FiftyOne, Borderfree and International Checkout saw their client lists swell in 2009, with well-known brands like Nordstrom and Sears joining the crowd in recent months.

We tried to tailor our research over the past year to help companies sort through the different global eCommerce options available to them during times of tight budgets. Global Expansion through International Shipping, for example, provides a look at different global shipping solutions, while the recently published Market Overview: Global eCommerce Solutions assesses the global capabilities of over a dozen different eCommerce platforms. Within the next couple of weeks, we’ll be publishing a report that looks at how the major markets of North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America stack up from an online shopping perspective.

The easing of the economic downturn is unlikely to unleash a sudden global eCommerce frenzy: companies rightly continue to be cautious with any new global online initiatives. However, the belt-tightening that took place in late 2008 and 2009 proved not to halt international eCommerce expansion – in some cases, the downturn even propelled expansion as international markets looked more attractive than domestic ones. The interest in global markets is only likely to grow in 2010: look for an increasing number of online retailers and other eBusinesses to start expanding beyond the highly developed eCommerce markets of the UK and Japan into other markets in Europe and Asia.