Bengaluru: Amazon India said it got 1 billion hits in the first 14 hours of the first day of its Diwali sales event, the Great Indian Festival—throwing down a stiff challenge for arch-rival Flipkart, which kicks off the Big Billion Day (BBD) sale on Sunday.

Amazon (Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd) claimed that it witnessed more unique visitors during the 14-hour period than all five days of its festive sales event last year and said it sold more than 100,000 units within the first 30 minutes of the day.

Amazon India said it saw record sales in categories such as consumer electronics, smartphones and large appliances—categories where rival Flipkart is also hoping to see tremendous growth. In the fashion category, Amazon said it saw growth jump six times from last year.

Amazon’s move to host the event around the same time as Flipkart’s BBD underscores the confidence that the Seattle-based company has on its firepower and ability to outgun its Indian rival, after having overtaken Flipkart’s monthly sales for two consecutive months, as Mint had reported in September.

In an interview in September with Mint, Agarwal had said that Amazon India was not worrying over the strategy of rivals and was focusing mostly on beefing up its own capabilities.

“My message to my team is very simple—be paranoid because consumers will shop on your site only till the point that they find a better experience elsewhere. So, they need to be extra paranoid that they don’t let down the guard in providing customers the experience they want," said Agarwal.

The stakes have, arguably, never been higher for Flipkart, which also owns the fashion retailers Myntra and Jabong. This Diwali could prove to be a make or break quarter for the Indian e-commerce sector’s poster boy. If Flipkart has a successful BBD sale, it may get the platform to keep improving its results and raise a fresh round of funds. If Amazon comes out as a big winner then it may force a massive shakeout in the e-commerce business.