What exactly is a bear market? There's a technical threshold that defines bear market territory, and that's a loss in value of 20% or more from a financial asset's all-time high. Take the Nasdaq-100 technology index, for example. It's down 25% right now, and it was down as much as 34% earlier this year, so it certainly fits the criteria.
While it's a scary time for investors, strong stock market returns wouldn't be possible without sizable dips like the current one. They offer great opportunities to deploy money into beaten-down stocks and position investment portfolios for growth over the long term.
After all, the Nasdaq-100 has more than doubled in value over the last five years, even with its recent losses. Here are two technology stocks investors can buy right now at steep discounts -- and when they look back 10 years from now, they might be glad they did.
1. Snap Inc: Down 87% from its all-time high
Snap Inc (SNAP -0.09%) is the parent company of social media platform SnapChat. As you can see from its steep decline in value, it's not having a great year. Soaring inflation and rising interest rates are squeezing the spending power of consumers, and advertisers have pulled back on their marketing budgets, which is what drives Snap's revenue.
But there's a reason investors should overlook the recent weakness. Snap's user base continues to grow, reaching 347 million daily active users in the recent second quarter of 2022 (ended June 30). Since the economy always recovers in the long run, advertising budgets should bounce back, and Snap will once again be a go-to platform for businesses that want to reach a growing, young audience.
In the meantime, the company is investing heavily in improving its ad platform. It's building new tracking tools to compensate for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) privacy changes from last year, and it continues to innovate in the augmented reality (AR) space. Since January 2021, over 250 million users have engaged with Snap's AR shopping Lenses 5 billion times, which allows them to try on clothes and accessories virtually. It's a real potential game changer for e-commerce.
Despite the difficult economic environment, Snap still managed to grow its revenue by 13% in the recent second quarter to $1.1 billion. It's a much slower growth rate than the 116% it delivered in the same period last year, but that was up against a much smaller comparable number. Snap does need to work on one thing, though: Keeping its costs in check. Generating slower revenue growth without trimming costs can lead to blowout net losses, like the $422 million net loss the company delivered in the second quarter.
On the other hand, Snap has $4.8 billion in cash, equivalents, and marketable securities on its balance sheet, so it can technically afford to spend aggressively for now. For investors who buy the stock here at its heavily discounted price, that spending should yield returns over the next five to 10 years, especially since much of it is focused on improving Snap for advertisers.
2. Duolingo: Down 54% from its all-time high
Duolingo (DUOL 1.59%) is faring quite a bit better than Snap with respect to its decline in value. That's because the company has had a stellar operating performance in 2022, making it hard for investors to ignore even as they shunned tech stocks in general. Duolingo is the global leader in digital language education, and its mobile app has been downloaded more than 500 million times.
It's more successful than other providers because it has made a game out of the learning experience, which is fun and interactive. Plus, it has added a social networking dimension that allows users to connect with family and friends so they can monitor each other's progress. Not to mention its mobile-first approach means lessons are always at the ready anytime, anywhere.
Duolingo's monthly active user base soared 31% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2022 to 49.5 million. But the number of learners paying subscription fees to unlock extra features grew by an even more impressive 71% to 3.3 million. Those subscribers now make up 7.2% of Duolingo's monthly active user base, which has consistently grown every quarter since the company introduced the paid option in 2018.
That has driven Duolingo to become the highest-grossing mobile app in the education category across both Apple's App Store and Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOGL)(NASDAQ: GOOG) Play Store.
Duolingo generated $250 million in revenue in 2021, and has told investors it expects that to grow by up to 46% to $367 million in 2022. But it's a mere fraction of what the company estimates will be a $47 billion annual opportunity globally by 2025, from 1.8 billion foreign language learners. While Duolingo isn't a profitable company just yet, it's wise for it to continue investing in growth because it's expanding so quickly, and its addressable market is so large.
In 10 years, investors might be glad they bought the stock during the current bear market.