In hopes of securing TVs, Apple Airpods and other items on sale, shoppers kicked off their holiday shopping this week.

After seeing Meijer’s deal for an Apple Air for $499 and receive $150 back for the next shopping trip, Abby Whitney started planning her trip to the store. At 3 a.m. Thursday, Whitney arrived at the Grand Haven Township store to ensure she could buy the device.

Whitney is among the estimated 165.3 million Americans who were planning to shop between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics annual survey. About 65 percent of shoppers say it is for the good deals, and 28 percent reported shopping because of “tradition.”

Shopping on Black Friday is part of a tradition for Whitney, her mom and sister. Whitney said they usually start at Meijer before venturing out to malls.

“It’s a family thing,” she said.

This year, they kicked off the shopping Thanksgiving morning and planned to wait until Friday to venture to other stores.

Previous Black Friday shopping experiences led Whitney to arrive in the early Thanksgiving morning hours to get the iPad Air. Whitney, who is in the process of earning her associate’s degree, said plans to use the device for school and spend the $150 back on an Apple Pencil.

“It’s a school investment for me,” she said.

According to the survey, 39.6 million Americans planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day, while 11.6 million planned to shop on Black Friday. On Small Business Saturday, 66.6 million planned to shop, and 33.3 million planned to shop on Sunday.

About 68.7 million Americans planned to shop Cyber Monday.

Based on the National Retail Federation’s forecast, sales in November and December are expected to increase 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, for $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion, respectively.

With six fewer days to this year’s holiday shopping season, Meijer is among the big retailers who started deals early. While Meijer kicked off the weeklong sales last Sunday, the store’s two-day Black Friday deals started at 6 a.m. Thursday, and the retailer continued with its annual Santa Bucks on Saturday.

Between Thanksgiving needs and Black Friday deals, Meijer spokesman Joe Hirschmugl said it’s a big week for the retailer. He said it’s the “year of the TV,” as they offer bigger screens at lower prices than previous years.

The deal on a 58-inch TV caught the attention of Joan and Jim Biesecker. The Grand Haven Township couple, while not normally Black Friday shoppers, said they started their Thanksgiving Day at Meijer. Since they thought the store would be crowded, the Bieseckers arrived at 5:15 a.m. to get the deal that started at 6 a.m. Overall, Joan said the shopping trip ended up being easier than she expected.

Instead of being fast asleep in bed Thursday morning, Lindsay “Happy” Gilmore said his wife made him go shopping. The Grand Haven man and his wife took advantage of early Black Friday deals in search of Christmas gifts for their five daughters. The early Thursday shopping trip kicked off the beginning of crossing items off their Christmas shopping lists.

After arriving at Meijer at around 5:20 a.m., Gilmore said the lines for the big sales weren’t as bad as he expected, and fellow shoppers were in good moods.

“People are nice,” he said.

A deal on a 55-inch Roku TV also got Spring Lake resident Shelby Czinder out of bed early Thanksgiving morning. Since her children like to watch Netflix and the family needed a smart TV, Czinder got in line early. With the deal not available online, Czinder said she lined up at 3 a.m. anticipating a long line.

Czinder plans to give the new purchase as a Christmas gift to her children.

“They will be excited,” she said.

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