Recession fears have sent the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite tumbling into a bear market this year, and both indexes have now posted three consecutive quarterly losses for the first time since 2009. During this current upheaval, Shopify (SHOP -7.04%) saw its share price drop roughly 79%, marking the greatest stock price decline the Canadian e-commerce company has suffered since going public in 2015.

This creates a very rare opportunity for investors. Here's why this growth stock is a smart buy right now.

The bear case for Shopify

The bear case for Shopify centers on three points of potential weakness. First, Shopify faces competition from larger retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Second, it currently derives a significant portion of revenue from small and medium-sized businesses, which may be more susceptible to economic downturns. And third, its decision to build the Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) will require a considerable amount of money -- management says capital expenditures related to the project will total $1 billion in the next two years -- and that will put pressure on profitability.

Those arguments are certainly worth consideration, and Shopify has indeed struggled with economic challenges this year. High inflation has been a headwind to consumer spending and an accelerant for operating expenses, and that one-two punch has led to disappointing financial results. Third-quarter revenue rose just 22%, and Shopify reported a non-GAAP loss of $0.02 per share, down from a profit of $0.08 per share in the prior year.

That said, economic downturns are temporary, meaning they have no lasting impact on the growth narrative. Additionally, Shopify bulls have a more compelling argument than Shopify bears.

The bull case for Shopify

The bull case is straightforward: Shopify is the leader in e-commerce software, which positions the company to capitalize on a large and growing addressable market. Retail e-commerce sales will increase at 14% annually to reach $15 trillion worldwide by 2030, according to Ameco Research. But for the sake of being thorough, it's worth addressing the three points discussed in the previous section.

First, Shopify helps businesses manage sales across physical and digital channels, including marketplaces like Amazon, social media like Meta Platforms' Facebook, and direct-to-consumer (DTC) websites. That gives Shopify an edge over its larger rivals. DTC models eliminate retail middlemen and they afford businesses more control over the buyer experience, making it easier to build lasting customer relationships. Not surprisingly, D2C e-commerce sales in the U.S. are growing more quickly than marketplace e-commerce sales.

Second, Shopify is growing upmarket with Shopify Plus, a commerce platform designed for larger businesses. Plus merchants accounted for 33% of monthly recurring revenue in the third quarter, up from 28% in the prior year, and product innovation should drive upmarket momentum in the coming years. Shopify Plus offers all the convenience of standard subscription plans, but it also provides merchants with premium point-of-sale software, commerce automation tools, AI-powered marketing software, and business-to-business (B2B) commerce tools. Those features put Shopify in front of another multi-trillion dollar addressable market. According to Grand View Research, B2B e-commerce sales will grow at 20% annually to reach $33 trillion by 2030.

Third, the SFN will reduce cost and complexity across three phases of logistics, helping merchants inbound inventory from suppliers, route inventory to fulfillment centers, and ship orders to consumers. Building the SFN will undoubtedly be a costly endeavor, but the potential benefits are too great to ignore. The SFN will support two-day or next-day delivery across the U.S., meaning merchants will be able to guarantee rapid shipping across multiple sales channels such as online marketplaces, social media, and D2C websites. No other e-commerce company offers that flexibility.

Shopify stock is trading at a bargain price

Currently, shares of Shopify trade at 8.7 times sales, an absolute bargain compared to the five-year average of 29.6 times sales. More importantly, that multiple looks cheap in context. Shopify accounted for 10.3% of retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. in 2021, second only to Amazon, meaning the company is well positioned to reaccelerate sales growth as economic conditions improve.

Given that retail and B2B e-commerce sales are expected to notch double-digit growth through the end of the decade, investors can reasonably expect Shopify to achieve sales growth of 20% per year during that time period. That means the share price could more than quadruple by 2030 without any change in the price-to-sales ratio. That makes this growth stock a screaming buy.