Bengaluru: Amazon’s India unit threw down the gauntlet to online marketplace Flipkart on Thursday and said it would host its annual sales event, the Great Indian Festival, around the same time that Flipkart intends to host its Big Billion Day (BBD) sale, setting the stage for the biggest showdown in Indian e-commerce.

On Thursday, Amazon said it would host the Great Indian Festival from 1 to 5 October, which coincides with the BBD sale, which is being held from 2-6 October.

In a statement, Amazon said that the Great Indian Festival would have offers on a range of products from smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, musical instruments, stationery products, books, baby products, toys, clothing & accessories, shoes to beauty products, pet products, gourmet foods and gardening accessories.

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 earlier in September.

“This year we recognize and celebrate the big heartedness that underlies festivities and have themed the Great Indian Festival as Tyohar Bade Dilwala. We are delighted to celebrate this with our customers as much as with the entire ecosystem of our sellers, vendors and partners to bring festive cheer all over the country. These marathon 120 hours of the event mark our continuing commitment to work closely with our partners and together bring the biggest sale yet for our customers, with the best ever shopping experience powered by Prime," says Amit Agarwal, vice-president and country head, Amazon India.

Also read: Has Flipkart lost No 1 slot to Amazon?

In an interview last week 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.

Other Indian rivals such as Snapdeal are also gearing up for a large sales event around the time of Diwali, but have not yet shared details on their plans.

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 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 shakeout in the e-commerce business.