Brush up on your investment terms and what this means for our economy, your investments and the possibility of a recession. A bear market refers to a period of time in which stock prices decline and the overall market outlook is pessimistic. Beyond the daily fluctuations of the market, a bear market is typically marked by a 20 percent or more fall in the market index over at least a two-month period. Bear markets throughout history have varied greatly in severity and length of time. For example, two of the longest bear markets experienced in America include the Stock Market Crash of 1929, which lasted 34 months, and the more recent 2007 financial crisis, in which the bear market lasted over 27 months.