NOUVEAU RICHE

The dot-com revolution gave birth to more than Internet start-ups — it spawned a NEW NOBILITY, according to Dannielle Blumenthal, vice president and editorial director of the Intelligence Factory in New York City. These new millionaires may find themselves self-conscious about their sudden wealth and seek justification for their purchases, she says. A need to feel better about how they use wealth will lead to “utilitarian consumption,” which will drive changes in everything from product endorsements to the size of couches. Look for commercials with messages about self-sacrifice and more concerts and events with charity tie-ins. Stores will feature things like expensive children’s clothing that the new nobility can justify buying because it wears better. Blumenthal says the rest of us may resent the new nobility’s wealth, but we’ll treat ourselves to oversize furniture, home tapestries, super-size fast food, and other products so we can feel like kings and queens, too.