A secular bear market refers to a long run cycle in the stock market in which share prices are depressed for a considerable period of time. The term “secular” is in regards to time frame, which, as it pertains to either a bear or bull market, can last for years.
The last secular bear market ran for 12 years after the technology bubble burst in 2000. Share prices, especially those of many large-cap technology companies, did not recover until the beginning of 2013. A secular bear market is often started after some major catalyst or shock to capital markets. This can include a significant change in monetary and/or fiscal policy, a major geopolitical event, or a shock to the financial system. Or, in the most recent case of such a market, share prices appreciating so much that a euphoric bubble is created. When this bubble finally bursts, the recovery period can take many years in order for share prices to stabilize.