It may be tough to fathom how stocks can compound your wealth over years and decades. The secret to getting rich is nothing amazing -- it simply involves buying and owning great stocks over the long term. What you do need, however, is patience to stay the course as share prices can go through significant volatility in the short run.

That said, if the selection process is done correctly, all you need is to sit tight on your winners. Great companies can steadily grow their revenue, profits, and cash flow over time, catalyzing the rise in their stock price and helping you to get rich by the time retirement comes along.

The attributes you should look for include a strong and growing brand, trends that can sustain long-term growth, and a long runway for that growth to materialize. Technology companies qualify as great compounders because many have dominant brands and are well-positioned to grow along with digital adoption and technological advancements.

Here are three technology stocks with all the factors in place that can grow your pot of gold for your retirement.

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Image source: Getty images.

Apple

Apple (AAPL 0.02%) must surely qualify as one of the most innovative technology companies in the world. The manufacturer of the iPhone has, time and again, proven that its brand alone is enough to endear a generation of loyal followers to its multitude of products, devices, and services. The technology behemoth has dipped just 5% year to date, despite a near-18% decline in the NASDAQ Composite index over the same period, a testament to its durability and resilience.

Financially, the company has continued to post increasing revenue and net income over the past three years despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For its fiscal 2019 (ended Sept. 28), net sales clocked in at $260.2 billion and rose to $365.8 billion by fiscal 2021. Net income soared by 71.3% over the same period to hit $94.7 billion. The technology giant has also continued raising its quarterly dividend after going through a 4-for-1 stock split in 2020.

Apple recently also reported a strong fiscal 2022 third quarter, with revenue hitting a record high of $83 billion, up 2% year over year. Its active installed base of devices also reached a new all-time high for all its major product categories, while a record number of people have ditched other brands to switch to its ubiquitous iPhone.

The company expects strong iPhone sales in 2023 despite a looming economic slowdown and has ordered its suppliers to assemble 90 million of them for the next iteration of its iPhone, the iPhone 14. Elsewhere, the company's innovation may surface again for the next version of its smart watch, allowing for an accurate temperature sensor to be incorporated into it. Investors can keep the faith that Apple's strong brand power and its continued innovation will help to steadily grow its loyal customer base.

PayPal

Payments company PayPal (PYPL 0.59%) has been an important conduit connecting merchants and their customers for many years. Its platform and digital wallet allow customers to conduct a wide variety of secure online transactions that have seen total payment volume (TPV) grow steadily for the company. Over the years, PayPal has also expanded its payment options, recently allowing customers in the U.K. to transact using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The company's financial and operating metrics have also impressed. Net revenue climbed from $17.8 billion in 2019 to $25.4 billion in 2021, with net income jumping nearly 70% over the same period to $4.2 billion. For the first half of 2022, net revenue retained its uptrend, rising by 8.3% year over year.

PayPal has also committed to improving its operating margin in 2023 while authorizing a new $15 billion share repurchase plan. Total active accounts rose from 305 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2021, with TPV growing from $712 billion to $1.25 trillion over the two years. 

There's every indication PayPal can continue its momentum as the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption and e-commerce usage. The payments company is tapping this trend to continue growing its user base and TPV. In time, the increase in the number of users on its platform should also lift its revenue and net income.

MercadoLibre

MercadoLibre (MELI 0.58%) is the largest e-commerce player in Latin America. It not only provides a platform for buyers and sellers in the region to trade products, but also hosts a payments platform and operates a logistics fulfilment network to provide an all-encompassing fintech solution.

The company's financial growth has been stunning, with net revenue more than tripling from from $2.3 billion in 2019 to $7.1 billion in 2021. MercadoLibre went from a net loss of around $172 million in 2019 to a net profit of $83.3 million and has reported a strong surge in operating metrics along the way.

Gross merchandise volume (GMV), a measure of the transaction flow on the company's platform, doubled from $14 billion in 2019 to $28.3 billion in 2021, while TPV soared from $28.4 billion to $77.4 billion over the same period. Needless to say, the total items shipped and the number of payment transactions have also ballooned in tandem, making MercadoLibre one of the leading e-commerce players in the region.

The momentum has continued into 2022, with its second-quarter GMV reaching an all-time high of over $8.5 billion, up 22% year over year. The company's growth shows no sign of slowing as it launches improvements to its platform such as fast and free shipping for three-quarters of its GMV and a better navigation tool to encourage usage. Its fintech solutions division is also launching more financial services and increasing its access to credit to attract more users and merchants.

With a dominant market position in South America and a culture of continuous improvement, MercadoLibre looks set to continue its breakneck growth in the years ahead.