James Glanz of the The New York Times asks the question if Big Data is overrated as the big new diver to spur the economy in an article from August 17th: Is Big Data an Economic Big Dud?
Big Data has been called the "new oil", a new asset group, but I agree with the article that we're talking about lateral shift of economic spending, not real growth. As Glanz points out as far as retail is concerned the digital world is replacing the physical one so there's no economic growth per se, but a shift.
Interesting will be to see what industries can benefit from Big Data once enough analysts have come through the schools that have the skill set not only to effectively manipulate massive data sets, but also have a deep understanding of the industry in question. Otherwise there will never be entirely new opportunities that hold actual growth potential.
One 'industry' that has found ample use and is a trail blazer in the use of Big Data is the spy industry, namely the NSA. Read this article also co-written by James Glanz: How the U.S. Uses Technology to Mine More Data More Quickly.