Rand, an independent research group, published 207 pages on the topic where it analyzed 50 encrypted webshops to estimate the size of the online markets. Websites based in the Netherlands specialize in ecstasy-related drugs, while cannabis accounts for just 9% of online sales. The report said “this likely reflects the Netherlands’ role in the production of these drug types, making vendor access to these substances relatively easy and profitable given their location in the supply chain.”
According to the report by Rand, almost 50% of online drug orders were for less than $100. However, almost one quarter were for over $1,000, leading the researchers to conclude that “it is likely that many cryptomarket customers are drug dealers sourcing stock intended for offline distribution.”
Researchers say that of the eight dark web markets analyzed, vendors from the Netherlands accounted for around $13 million a year, which is about 7% of the total yearly sales of the eight markets. This number is 2.4 times higher than British drug vendors and 4.5 times higher than the sales of U.S. vendors.
According to the research group, online sales take only a small percentage of drug sales. For example, Dutch cannabis cafes, where small amounts of marijuana are sold under license, are estimated to sell drugs worth €1 billion per year.
The researchers were mostly focused on dark web drugs sales in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Most sellers appeared to be operating from the United States (890), followed by Great Britain (338), and Germany (225). Countries such as China and India may also be “fertile breeding grounds for online drug sales” since they have a big role in production, according to the report.