I have nothing to contradict you, that seems a plausible scenario.
Yet, I did the conditioning. First it cost close to nothing (I used 1/10th of a bottle of Lexol, that's like $0.60, whatever). Second, the leather that was feeling hard and stiff is now supple and bends nicely again, like new. So whatever it did, it did something, because I can feel it, and it is well beyond the threshold of what can be self convinced by "placebo" effect.